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K 2 and Broad Peak: Summits within reach

K 2, the “King of the Eight-thousanders”

Will K2, after all, stretch out its hand for reconciliation? Despite the difficult weather and snow conditions on the second highest mountain on earth, today more than a dozen climbers have reached the highest camp on the K 2 Shoulder. “He just arrived at Camp 4,” Lina Moey, partner of the Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, wrote on Facebook. “He is very tired, after almost twelve hours of climbing. This was a very long day and the snow reached up to his waist at some points. Fourteen people are planing to summit the peak, 9 of them are Sherpa. They had to dig 1.5 meter down to be able to put the tent down.” On 16 May, the 44-year-old Sigurjonsson had summited the 8516-meter-high Lhotse in Nepal. He was the first Icelander on the fourth highest mountain on earth. Also on the summit of K2, he would be the first climber of his country. John’s GPS tracker showed an altitude of 7,650 meters.

Date

26. July 2017 | 19:37

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Hard days in the Karakoram

Shadow of K2 falls on Broad Peak (there was better weather in 2004)

Damn hard or impossible? This question is likely to be answered in the next few days on the eight-thousanders K2 and Broad Peak. Summit bids are running on both mountains. “K2 is all about weather,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader and head of the Nepalese operator Dreamers Destination, writes on Facebook today. “We had three days bad weather though weather report showed good (weather). Some teams on K2 are closed already and some in my team are going down too. But remaining, we still want to check 27 July.”

Date

25. July 2017 | 15:17

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The big wait on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

Waiting can wear down. For more than one and a half weeks, the freak weather in the Karakoram prevented major activities on K2, the second highest mountain on earth. A week ago, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa watched from Base Camp a big avalanche, which swept down over the normal route via the Abruzzi spur at about 7,000 meters. The 31-year-old head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination had to give up his plan to check what damage had been caused due to bad weather. Since then, he has been waiting for a summit change at the foot of the mountain, along with his clients and Climbing Sherpas. After all, the first team members left BC today heading for Camp 1. Before, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa answered my questions.

Mingma, how is the mood in K 2 Base Camp while waiting for a good weather window? 

Date

23. July 2017 | 8:20

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Spanish trio abandons summit attempt on Gasherbrum II

Route of the Spaniards on Gasherbrum II (blue)

Once again the weather in the Karakorum is a grab bag. “We are all still at Base Camp with the same 4 seasons in one day, sun, cloud, rain, snow, wind,” the New Zealand expedition leader Russell Brice wrote this week from K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. About 20 kilometers as the crow flies from there, Alberto Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza regardless of the freak weather started their ambitious attempt to traverse Gasherbrum I and II in Alpine style without descending to the base camp – 33 years after Reinhold Messner’s and Hans Kammerlander’s pioneering on these two eight-thousanders which has not yet been repeated to date.

Date

21. July 2017 | 16:15

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Summit success reported from Gasherbrum II

Gasherbrum II

According to the Pakistani expedition operator Alpine Adventure Guides, there was this summer’s first summit success on Gasherbrum II. The two Frenchmen Mathieu Maynadier and Jeremy Rumebe had reached the 8,034-meter-high summit in the Karakoram, the agency said on Twitter. Further information is not yet available. The two mountain guides from France had planned to climb G II on the normal route and to ski down afterwards. The goal of his first eight-thousander expedition was to gather experience at high altitude for an attempt on a technical route on an eight-thousander over the next few years, Maynadier had said ahead of the trip.

Date

17. July 2017 | 14:40

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Avalanche on K 2

K 2 Base Camp

With this monarch is not to be joked. K 2, the “king of the eight-thousanders”, is moody and therefore dangerous. “This morning at 8:12 am, we saw (a) big avalanche coming from (the) Abruzzi route,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, writes on Facebook. The Abruzzi route, following the path of the Italian first ascenders in 1954, leads via the Southeast Ridge of the mountain (look at the picture below, route F). “We feel all (that) Camp 3 (at about 7,300 m) is swept away again. I am sure we have all our deposit near Camp 4 because our Sherpa team made it on (a) ice cliff, but it is likely sure that all the fixed ropes are washed away.” Tomorrow his Sherpa team will go up again to assess the situation.

Date

14. July 2017 | 14:41

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Karnicar abandons his K2 ski expedition

Karnicar strikes his tent on K 2

The Slovenian Davo Karnicar, known for his spectacular ski runs from the highest mountains in the world, has aborted his expedition on K2. The 52-year-old justified his decision with a minor back injury, which he had suffered already at the beginning of the expedition. The injury did not allow him to jump with his skies on the slope to change the direction, said Karnicar. Previously, he had skied down on trial from Camp 1 to the Base Camp. “K2 is too demanding for improvisation and for doing things by halves,” said Davo. Karnicar also pointed out that the key section of the South Face was currently snow-free and therefore a complete ski descent from the summit to the Base Camp, as he had planned, was not possible. The Slovene wanted to ski down the Cesen route.

Date

7. July 2017 | 16:33

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Attention, rope parasites!

K 2 Base Camp

Trouble’s brewing in the base camps on K 2 and the neighboring eight-thousander Broad Peak. “I got surprised to see climbers here without ropes.”, writes Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination from the base camp at the foot of K 2, the second highest mountain on earth. Only on the normal route via the Abruzzi spur, three teams are climbing without ropes, says the 31-year-old Nepalese: “If this is how climbers come on K 2, then we can expect (the events of the) year 2008 again on K 2.” At that time eleven climbers from seven nations had died in a true mass summit push on the 8,611-meter-high mountain.

Mingma has agreed with the Austrian expedition organizer Lukas Furtenbach that Dreamers Destination will fix the ropes on the Abruzzi route on K 2 while Furtenbach Adventures will do the same on the normal route on the 8,051-meter-high Broad Peak and later make mutual use of the ropes. Also Furtenbach is hopping mad that other teams neither participate in the work to secure the route nor in the costs.

Date

29. June 2017 | 14:24

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Hard times for weather experts

Charly Gabl

“I’ve got some more gray hair,” said Karl, called “Charly” Gabl. “It was terrible.” The world-famous meteorologist from Austria was talking about the freak weather on Mount Everest during this spring season, which had made predictions as difficult as rarely before. Once again, Charly had pulled numerous all-nighters to advise top climbers from all over the world who trust him almost unconditionally. “The one computer model showed two and a half meters of fresh snow during a week, another one no precipitation. Which one should I take?”

Date

22. June 2017 | 22:18

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The fast Mingma

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

He deserves more and more the nickname “The early starter”. While most of the others are still busy setting up their base camps in the Karakoram, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator, Dreamers Destination, already last Sunday led a team to the 8125-meter-high summit of Nanga Parbat. The success on the ninth highest mountain on earth was the first of this summer season on the eight-thousanders in Pakistan. Also in the past spring season in Nepal and Tibet, Mingma had achieved the first 8000er summit success: On 30 April, the 31-year-old reached along with his team the summit of the 8167-meter-high Dhaulagiri. Not even two weeks later he stood with Tashi Sherpa and a client from China on the 8485-meter-high main summit of Makalu – also on this peak, Mingma was the first this spring.

Date

17. June 2017 | 21:22

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Everest winter pioneer Wielicki: “Acclimatization is the key”

Krzysztof Wielicki

Krzysztof Wielicki

Krzysztof Wielicki is skeptical. “I think they can have a problem because they only slept in Camp 3 and not at 8,000 meters,” answers the Pole when I meet him at the trade fair ISPO in Munich and enquire him about the chances of the Basque climber Alex Txikon on Mount Everest. Txikon, who wants to scale the highest mountain of the world this winter without bottled oxygen, is currently waiting in Everest Base Camp to set off for his first summit attempt. “In my opinion, you should have slept at the South Col, if you want to push to the summit,” says Wielicki. “I wish him good luck, I hope that nothing happens. It’s most important that they’ll come back safely. It doesn’t matter if they climb to the summit or not.”

Date

9. February 2017 | 1:01

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With Sherpa women’s power to the top of Kangchenjunga

Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (from l. to r.)

Maya Sherpa, Dawa Yangzum Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita (from l. to r.)

The trio wants the triple. After having climbed Mount Everest and K 2, Maya Sherpa, Pasang Lhamu Sherpa Akita and Dawa Yangzum Sherpa plan to scale next spring also the third-highest mountain in the world, the 8,586-meter-high Kangchenjunga in the east of Nepal. Via the normal route, with bottled oxygen. They climbed Everest still separately – Maya for the first time in 2006, Pasang Lhamu in 2007 and Dawa Yangzum in 2012 – but K 2 in Pakistan in 2014 for the first time together as a team. As early as in 2015 the trio wanted to climb Kangchenjunga. However, at that time the expedition did not come about for financial reasons. This time, too, there is still money left, Maya Sherpa, who is to lead the first Nepalese women’s expedition to Kangchenjunga, writes to me. The Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has announced to provide financial support as well as Tashi Lakpa Sherpa, managing director of the expedition operator Seven Summit Treks, says Maya Sherpa. The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has not yet decided whether it will also participate in the costs. In addition, the three Sherpani try to get a free permit for their expedition by the government.

Date

6. January 2017 | 15:44

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Polish K 2 winter expedition obviously postponed

K 2

K 2

The K 2 will probably remain for another year the only eight-thousander that has not been climbed in winter so far. The Polish expedition to the second highest mountain in the world, originally planned for next winter, will take place only in 2017/2018, reports “Taternik”, the journal of the Polish Mountaineering Association PZA. The time to prepare the expedition logistically had run short. After all, the financing by two state-owned companies is in place now, says “Taternik”. In early September, the designated expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki had mentioned in an interview with Polish radio that there was still a gap of 700,000 Zloty (160,000 Euro) in the expedition budget and that time was running short to close it.

Date

20. September 2016 | 19:52

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Summit successes in the Karakoram

Nanga Parbat

Nanga Parbat

The Karakoram remains unpredictable. The climbing season in Pakistan is slowly but surely coming to an end – and the number of summit successes is manageable. On Nanga Parbat the Spaniard Ferran Latorre, the Frenchman Hélias Millerioux and the Bulgarian Bojan Petrov reached the highest point at 8,125 meters. “Seven intense days, but it was worth it,” tweeted Latorre (see also the video below). It was the 13th eight-thousander for him, he climbed all of them without bottled oxygen. Now only Mount Everest is still missing in the collection of the 45-year-old. Ferran wants to tackle it in spring 2017. Bojan Petrov has scaled so far eight of the 14 highest mountains in the world. Nanga Parbat was after Annapurna and Makalu his third eight-thousander this year.

Date

27. July 2016 | 23:26

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Pakistan refuses climbers entry – arbitrariness or system?

Broad Peak (with shades of K 2)

Broad Peak (with shades of K 2)

You have a visa for Pakistan, a climbing permit for an eight-thousander, you have organized everything. You travel to Islamabad and at the airport you learn that you are a persona non grata and have to leave the country. That’s exactly what happened to the Australian-New Zealand climber Chris Jensen Burke (she has both citizenships) and the Nepalese Sherpa Lakpa Sherpa. “The reasons why are stranger than fiction and I won’t put the detail here,” Chris wrote in her blog. Obviously she fears to risk alienating the Pakistani authorities if she is quite clear.

Date

29. June 2016 | 8:59

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