Climbers on way to scale Karakoram range peaks

Updated January 20, 2020

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The Broad Peak winter expedition — comprising Russian mountaineer Denis Urubko, Don Bowie from Canada and former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa — have set up Camp 2 at an altitude of 6,400 metres. — File photo
The Broad Peak winter expedition — comprising Russian mountaineer Denis Urubko, Don Bowie from Canada and former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa — have set up Camp 2 at an altitude of 6,400 metres. — File photo

GILGIT: International winter expedition teams are continuing their uphill struggle to scale some of the world’s highest peaks — Gasherbrum I (8,034 metres), Broad Peak (8,051 metres) and K2 (8,611 metres) — in the Karakoram mountain range situated mostly in Gilgit-Baltistan, despite the rough weather conditions, according to expedition officials.

The Broad Peak winter expedition — comprising Russian mountaineer Denis Urubko, Don Bowie from Canada and former Miss Finland Lotta Hintsa — have set up Camp 2 at an altitude of 6,400 metres, said the officials

In a text message from a satellite phone, team leader Urubko said, “I drink tea in tent Camp 2, 6400 metres, Weather OK but Don told [me, it’d be] bad on 20 January, new forecast.”

The team returned to the base camp on Sunday, waiting for the weather to imp­rove to start its new summit push.

Bowie wrote on his social media page about his experience at Camp 2, “Denis Urubko’s image of me taking my turn attacking the ice below Camp 2 a few days ago. We spent hours and hours fixing new rope and hacking out the old stuff — the latter a most tedious and mind-numbing task, where 15 minutes of work can sometimes yield only a metre of upward progress.”

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On her Instagram page, Finland’s Hintsa also wrote an update about her expedition so far, musing mostly about waiting and activities while waiting. “Probably for many a mountaineer, the hardest part of an expedition is waiting. Waiting for the right weather window, waiting to be acclimatised enough or maybe waiting to get healthy again.

“Lately, we have been waiting for storm pass… to pass time at base camp we often hang out in the warmth of our dining tent, reading, journaling, working, planning, listening to music...

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“Other activities include drying out sleeping bags (might take hours), doing laundry, fixing tents, or if the weather allows, going for hikes, or ice climbing. For me … waiting seems to be the biggest teacher here,” she said.

As for Italian climbers Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger attempting to ascent Gasherbrum I, they too are struggling with severe weather conditions.

According to expedition organiser Syed Anwar, an eight-member Polish team, which arrived in Gilgit to climb the Batura Sar peak, will do so from Hasanabad in Hunza over the next few days. The 10th highest peak in the Karakoram mountain range, it has never been scaled in winter time before.

Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2020