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Busier climbing season at K2 expected

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ISLAMABAD: The number of mountaineering expeditions to Pakistan may fall this year but some of the toughest climbers are converging at the base camp of K2 to mark the 60 years since the world’s second highest peak was first conquered in July 1954.

HunzaNews, June 14th, 2014

It is a mountain that often defeats and kills those who dare to reach its top. Last year, K2 denied all efforts by climbers to go beyond Camp III. The extreme snow conditions didn’t allow any attempts to reach its summit. It claimed the lives of a mountaineer and his son from New Zeeland – Denali and Marty Schmidt – when an avalanche hit them at the Camp III.

Nonetheless, this summer will see a busier climbing season on the mountain. According to the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP), Poles will be practicing for the first winter ascent. There will be Pakistani-Italian joint venture to reiterate the success of the 1954 expedition.

The ACP provided a list of some of the most accomplished adventurers who have applied for permits to climb K2, such as Canadian climber Al Hancock who has summated all the seven of the highest peaks in the world. Record breaker and adventurer British Adrian Hayes will also be attempting to conquer the 8,611 metres high peak. Besides, Italian climber Giuseppe Pompili wants to fulfil his dream of conquering K2.

“It’s a peak that breaks down dreams and ambitions of the best climbers,” Pompili wrote on his website.

Radek Jaros, who has climbed 13 of the 14 highest peaks in the world without bottled oxygen and failed three summit attempts on K2 in 2001, 2003 and 2005, is back as part of the Czech Republic’s K2 expedition. Alexandros Aravidis and Panagiotis Athanasiadis from Greece will also be on the mountain. And Turkish Muharram Aydin Irmak is already in Pakistan to climb the peak.

While climbers from the USA and Nepali Sherpas are trying their luck on K2, Australian Chris Jensen Burke is continuing with her row of successful climbs. In May, she summited Makalu and has planned to climb Broad Peak and K2 this summer.

Unlike Mount Everest that has been summated by nearly 3,500 young and old climbers, K2 has been a much lonelier place with roughly 300 making to its tops since it was first captured 60 years ago.

ACP member executive Karrar Haidri explained why K2 was harder to climb.

“It is enormous, very high, incredibly steep and further north than Mt Everest which means it attracts notoriously bad weather. In 1986, 13 climbers were killed in a week when a vicious storm stranded numerous expeditions.

He said though Everest was 237 metres taller, K2 was perceived to be a far harder climb. “It is a serious and a dangerous mountain. Every route is a technically difficult climb, much harder than the Everest. The weather can change incredibly fast and the snow conditions are not easy to negotiate,” said the ACP member.

Traffic on the other 8,000 metres-plus peaks like GI and II, Broad Peak remains less this summer, especially on Nanga Parbat where no expedition will be attempting after the terror incident in June 2013 when 11 mountaineers were killed there.


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