Dispatch: Apricot Tours K2 Winter 2020: On the Way to Askole

The Apricot Tours K2 Winter 2020 team tests gear, concludes sponsor photo sessions and prepares to depart for Askole.

On 14 Jan, the team departed Askole with four dozen porters and began their K2 Base Camp Trek. It begins in Askhole and winds its way through the Braldu Valley before reaching the famous Baltoro Glacier to Concordia.

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Tom Ballard, Son of Alison Hargreaves, Disappears on Nanga Parbat

The acclaimed son of Alison Hargreaves has disappeared on Nanga Parbat while on an expedition in late February with Daniele Nardi.

The last time the pair were heard from was on Sunday, 24 February 2019.

Tom Ballard is the son of Alison Hargreaves, first woman to summit Mount Everest during a solo climb without supplemental oxygen. She died 3 months later on K2 at the age of 33. Ballard is 30.

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K2 Remains Unconquered in Winter (2020)

For decades, mountaineers have attempted to climb K2 in winter, with the most recent being Apricot Tours in 2020. They have all failed, but data shows promise that it can be done.

Many expeditions have tried including the 2018 Krzysztof Wielicki expedition that rescued Elisabeth Revol on Nanga Parbat. Other expeditions were attempted it in 1988, 2003, 2012 and 2015, and 2019.

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The 2008 K2 Disaster

The 2008 K2 Disaster was a highly publicized climbing disaster that resulted in the deaths of 11 climbers on 01 August of that year. The tragedy also heightened scrutiny of safety precautions and climber responsibility during expeditions.

The 2008 K2 Disaster was brought on by a series of events, some preventable, some not. but what it had in common with many mountaineering disasters, including the 1996 Everest Disaster, was the continuation of a summit push past the safe turnaround time.

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Vanessa O’Brien Thinks the Nanga Parbat Rescue Could Have Climbed Higher to Save Tomasz Mackiewicz

In a controversial statement on Twitter, Vanessa O’Brien revealed that she felt the Nanga Parbat rescue volunteers could have climbed higher to retrieve Tomasz Mackiewicz.

On Friday, 26 January, Tomasz Mackiewicz and Elisabeth Revol made a successful assault on the summit of Nanga Parbat during their Winter Ascent Expedition. Prior to their attempt, Nanga Parbat had only been summited once in the winter in 2014.

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One Saved, One Perishes on Nanga Parbat During Winter Expedition

PAKISTAN – One climber has been rescued from Nanga Parbat and one perished during separate winter expeditions on the “Killer Mountain.”

French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol was rescued off of the mountain after an ill-fated storm trapped her and her climbing partner above 25,000 ft (7620 m).

Her climbing partner, Polish native Tomasz “Tomek” Mackiewicz had to be left behind due to his severe injuries and physical condition.

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Coming Up: Wendy Ong on Surviving a SCI and Climbing

Wendy Ong is the only person to have fallen nearly 200 feet (70m), survive, go on to rock climb, ice-climb, and ski at high levels with a T-10 Spinal Cord Injury; survive sepsis and climb her hardest trad route as a paraplegic (5.12- Cloud Tower, Red Rocks, Nevada) a few months later; ski her way across North America; and be the only para to ski, ice-climb, and rock climb in the space of less than ten days.

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First Successful Summits on K2 Since 2014

There hasn’t been a successful summit on the King of Mountains, K2, since 2014. However, this changed today when one expedition, led by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, made it to the summit and reported their successful assault through social media. 

Roughly six hours ago, Mingma G., head of Dreamers Destination, reported on his Facebook page that he and 11 other climbers had successfully made it to the summit. He wrote:

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28/07 UPDATE: Fredrik Sträng K2 Summit 2017 | Summit Abort and Reattempt Through Cecen Route

On 28 July, Fredrik returned to Base Camp after aborting the ascent at aprox. 7,400 meters due to bad weather and dangerous conditions that included little visibility, waist-deep snow and avalanches.

On 28 July at 8:00 P.M. EST, Fredrik’s contact updated his progress by stating that Fredrik and his partner would attempt the summit again. He will now approach the summit via the Cescen Route due to “bad conditions on Abruzzi.”

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The Wait is Over, Fredrik Sträng Attempts K2 Summit Today

Yesterday, he announced that today is the day for the summit bid start!

We, and all you reading this now, have been keeping our fingers crossed in hopes of good weather for the summit attempt for Fredrik Sträng’s Sigma K2017 Expedition. In our last Dispatch, we left Fredrik waiting patiently as he watched the stars and contemplated his place amongst them and measured his size against the mountain.

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Fredrik Sträng and Ali Musa Wait for a Weather Window on K2

Through Dispatches, you’ve had an inside look into the Sigma K2 2017 Expedition that is underway with climbers Fredrik Sträng from Sweden, Ali Musa from Pakistan and their third team member, Abass, their Chef Cook at K2 Base Camp.

Next week, he and Ali Musa are expecting to have a chance at a summit push on K2, but it will most likely be a shared effort between them and other expeditions on the mountain.

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Routes Up to K2’s Summit

First ascended by Achille Compagnoni on 31 July 1954, the mountain has since sprouted various routes across its faces that lead to the top.

Whether or not you’re crazy enough to attempt it, you’re not getting anywhere without a roadmap. Mountaineers usually take one of these ten pre-determined routes to the peak of K2.

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Ueli Steck Cremated and Ashes Split Between Switzerland and Nepal

Ueli Steck, one of the most revered mountaineers of his time, died on 30, April 2017 while on a Himalayan expedition on Mount Nuptse. He was 40 years old.

On 04, May 2017, Ueli Steck was given a ceremonious burial service in Khumjung, Nepal. The mountaineer was cremated, and in attendance were only close family and friends who mourned his death for over three hours. The ceremony took place in Tengboche Monastery in true Nepalese tradition. It was reported that some of his ashes were spread in Nepal, and the rest, taken to Switzerland to be dispersed by his family.

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Could Climate Change Make Climbing More Dangerous?

Could climate change affect outdoor sports that rely heavily on safety, like climbing? One new study by Arnaud J.A.M. Temme published in a geographical journal, Geografiska Annaler, and based on research done by Wageningen University, says this could be the case.

More particularly based on climbing activities in the Alps, the author used previously published mountain guides to dissect the possibility of melting permafrost contributing to the loosening and falling of rocks on mountains.

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