GILGIT: Foreign winter climbers, who are attempting to summit Broad Peak (8,051 metres) and Gasherbrum I (8,034 metres), are facing tough weather conditions while the international K2 (8,611 metres) winter expedition team kicked off its adventure on Saturday.
According to expedition officials, climbers Denis Urubko of Russia, Don Bowie of Canada and Lotta Hintsa of Finland on Saturday returned to the Broad Peak’s base camp after reaching a 6,100-metre point near camp 2. Camp 2 is at 6,500 metres on this route.
The mountaineers are struggling to summit Broad Peak before the end of this month.
Denis Urubko said in a message on Saturday, “Don and me did hard job just in two days, I touch ridge 6,200 meters! We exhausted in BC”. “In last two days Don and me cut hundreds kg ice- ropes under 10-30cm, my arms are very strong now, route to Camp 2 is open we are happy,” he said.
Don Bowie said on his social media page, “Denis and I spent countless hours chopping ropes out of ice and fixing route below camp 2, Lotta Hintsa got things at camp 1”.
Lotta Hintsa, who is former Miss Finland, said on Instagram “we are waiting for some better weather”.
“Winds above the summit are around 240 kilometres per hour, it’s cloudy and cold, and snow is blowing wildly all around,” she said, adding, “it sounds like the mountains are roaring”.
In another post, Don Bowie said “the route which we set dance a delicate line between heinous, avalanche prone slabs and bullet-hard blue ice”.
He explained that in summer this section is quite easy and straightforward but in winter the mountain is stripped of snow, leaving bare ice and loos rock and pocket of unstable snow.
Italian climbers Simon Moro and Tamara Lunger are currently attempting to summit Gasherbrum I.
The poor weather condition at Gasherbrum I has hampered their progress.
The climbers returned to the base camp after struggling to set route up to camp 1 on Saturday.
Tamara Lunger commented about the progress, “Bad weather didn’t stop us from getting a little higher and even more in trouble!!”
Simone Moro said: “We continue the complicated work of finding our way through the Gasherbrum glacier”.
“For the last couple of days we have been working in the highest and most complicated section of the glacier, crevasses and seracs everywhere seem to prevent us from advancing,” he said.
The eight-member international K2 winter expedition team accompanied by 70 local porters left Skardu to Askole on Saturday.
Team’s Serbaz Khan informed Dawn on Saturday that all members had arrived in Skardu to acclimatise themselves to conditions at the K2 base camp.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2020