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Base jumping the new rave

August 16, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Aug 15: With the climbing season drawing to a close and bad weather setting in, a few major international expeditions are still pushing for the summit that now seems more difficult because summer season is almost over.

While Khoo Swee Chiow became the first Singaporean climber to summit K2 on July 31, 2012; an expedition made up of Canadian, German, Czech and Slovakian (to mention some nationalities) were making last ditch efforts to summit the second highest peak in the world. The expedition has been on the 8,611 metres high mountain since a month-and-a-half.

The summit time on K2 is 60 days (two months), according to Alpine Club Pakistan (ACP).

Even though ACP was slightly pessimistic about any more summits this month.

“The weather is getting extremely bad. It’s monsoon and because of the cloud cover temperatures have dropped further,” said Member ACP Karrar Haidri, who added that rains, snowing and strong winds made journeys to the peak even harder.

It all made sense because a Czech expedition recently aborted their ascent on Nanga Parbat and returned home in the first week of August 2012.

The expedition, made up of not more than seven climbers, had waited some 45 days on Nanga Parbat for a clear window to push for the summit.

While a hand full of mountaineers waited for a clear window to conquer Broad Peak, a Taiwanese expedition also returned from the peak without success.

Similarly, the French Trango Air wall partly succeeded when the group made it to the top but the jump-off the wall was cancelled due to poor conditions.

A team of alpinists and base jumpers had initiated a journey to climb the Trango Towers in Pakistan, in order to base-jump off them.

The Trango Towers are a group of granite spires in the Baltoro Muztagh sub-range of the Karakoram Range in northern Pakistan.

The team aimed to climb one of the towers to the summit at 6, 300 metres and then jump off.

But contrary to fears amongst the mountaineering community of any more summits given the extreme weather conditions, there have been a few success stories.

Known for scaling some of the world’s hardest routes, Kyle Dempster recently climbed the 6, 934 metres high K7, a mountain that demanded high-end climbing skills. Kyle Dempster is currently attempting the Latok, a small cluster of dramatic rock peaks in the Panmah Muztagh, part of the central Karakoram mountain range in Pakistan.

A Russian trio Dmitry Golovchenko, Alexander Lange and Sergei Kotachkov are still attempting Muztagh Tower.

Muztagh Tower also known as Muztagh ice tower was a mountain in the Baltoro Muztagh, part of the Karakoram Range on the border of the Gilgit–Baltistan region of Pakistan and the Xinjiang Uygur region of China. The 7,180 metres high tower stood between the basins of Baltoro and Sarpo Laggo glaciers.