K2: Equal distribution on two routes

K2 Base Camp

The teams at the second highest mountain on earth have sorted themselves. As Herbert Hellmuth, German climber in the team of the Nepalese expedition operator “Seven Summit Treks” wrote me yesterday from the base camp, the summit candidates are distributed quite evenly on the normal route via the Abruzzi Spur and the Basque route (often also called Cesen route).

Herbert had a look around the base camp: Of the 120 climbers with permits (75 international mountaineers, 45 Climbing Sherpas from Nepal – they are spread over ten teams) 64 want to climb the Abruzzi route, 56 the Basque route. The Pakistani High Altitude Porters do not appear in this calculation as they do not need a permit. Around ten climbers who had granted a permit had already left the mountain, Herbert writes me: “All in all not such an overcrowded year.”

Strong wind

Herbert Hellmuth on ascent

The 50-year-old climber from the German town of Bamberg has scaled three eight-thousanders so far: Manaslu (in 2011), Mount Everest (in 2013) and Kangchenjunga (in 2018). He is tackling K2 already for the third time after 2015 and 2016, when he had to turn around at a good 7,000 meters each. Hellmuth has completed his first acclimatization rotation on the Abruzzi route up to Camp 2 at 6,700 meters. “(I) survived the night with strong wind,” Herbert wrote yesterday on Facebook.

Good visibility

Camp 1 on the Abruzzi route

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, expedition leader of the team of “Imagine Nepal”, reported last Friday on Facebook on “mostly clear skies, which I didn’t experience in my previous 2014, 2016 and 2017 K2 expeditions”. His team is climbing on the Basque route. If everything was working as planned, according to Mingma, his Climbing Sherpas wanted to reach Camp 4 at about 7,600 meters this Monday. There, on the K2 “Shoulder”, the starting point for the summit push, the Basque and Abruzzi routes unite again into one. So in the summit area it could be crowded after all.

Update 9 July: Also from Gasherbrum I the first summit success of the season was reported. A five-man team around the South Korean Kim Hong-bin reached the 8,080-meter-high summit on Sunday. For the 54-year-old Kim it was the 13th eight-thousander. Now only Broad Peak is still missing in the collection of the “man without fingers”. In 1991, Kim had suffered on the 6,190-meter-high Denali in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, such severe frostbite that all ten fingers had to be amputated.

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator

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