Friday, July 20, 2012
Pakistan 2012: Weather Halts Summit Bids
Al Hanock hasn't updated on his progress since setting out on his Broad Peak summit bid but the Field Touring Alpine team has posted several dispatches. There latest came yesterday when they reported that their squad was holding tight in Camp 3 amidst steady snow fall. The update says that as much as 20-30cm (7-11 inches) of fresh powder had fallen on the mountain, although steady winds were blowing most of it off as quickly as it came down. There are now some concerns about avalanches higher up however, so the climbers are hoping to assess the challenges and make a decision from there.
If the weather improved today they hoped to move up to C4 and make an attempt on the top tomorrow. If not, several of the climbers still have time before they need to head home, so it is possible that they'll descend, wait out the weather and have another go next week.
Snow is making progress on K2 a difficult proposition at the moment as well. As a result, both Peter Hamor and Tunc Findik are back in Base Camp where they wait for the next opportunity to go up. Both squads have been making solid progress so far, having established Camp 2 and spent a few nights there to acclimatize. For now, all they can do is wait for the weather and the mountain to give them an opportunity to proceed.
Finally, we did receive official word from the Mazeno Ridge team that after reaching the summit of Nanga Parbat on July 15 all members of the group have now safely descended and are back in BC. Communication had been a bit spotty, so it's good to know that everyone got up and down in one piece.
Update: Reader Kristian posted this link in the comments below, but I thought it was most definitely worth adding here as well. Climber Fredrik Strang posted this update to his Facebook page that says a lot about the conditions on Broad Peak and the Karakoram as a whole this season. Fredrik says the weather is horrible and has been all summer long. He has pulled the plug on his BP expedition and says that the other team leaders feel this is the worst season on the mountain that they can remember. His comments are especially interesting to read as he says that it isn't worth climbing in the unsafe conditions and that the forces of nature are just too strong, even for the best, most experienced climbers this year.
Fredrik does say that he saw the FTA team on C3 and was set to meet up with them at Camp 4 today, but there was no way for them to go higher. He returned to BC on his own, but arrived to find out that the FTA squad was aborting their attempt as well. Whether or not it is over for them remains to be seen, but it sounds like BP is about to shut down for the season as well.
It is beginning to look like there may not be a single 8000 meter summit in Pakistan this year. We all know how difficult K2 is, even under the best of conditions.