Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition Update for July 10 2016:
Expedition overview: The Madison Mountaineering 2016 K2 Expedition has four climbers, two western guides and six Nepalese Sherpas. Our neighboring Swiss K2 expedition has eight climbers, two western guides and ten Sherpas. We are very international as we have 13 climbers from 11 countries. We are working closely and well together with the Swiss expedition. We also have about 20 Pakistani high altitude porters that will carry loads to higher camps and 15 cook and camp staff between the two expeditions. The two expeditions are working together with all route fixing, camp establishment and summit bid preparations. The two expeditions plan to be on close timing of their K2 summit bids, but each expedition will be climbing separate from each other. Due to the extreme steepness of the terrain on the Abruzi route of K2, at C1, C2 and C3 space for tent sites is very limited to only six to nine safe tent locations, so the two expeditions have to be staggered at these camps so there is adequate tent availability for climbers, guides and Sherpas on the summit bid. Good cooperation and careful coordination is critical as our summit bid weather window could be unpredictable and will likely be short.
K2 Camps: We have six camps on the Abruzi route of K2 that have to be established and all with separate tents. Therefore the Madison Mountaineering expedition has almost 70 tents. The camps are Base Camp (BC), Advanced Base Camp (ABC), Camp 1 (C1) , Camp 2 (C2), Camp 3 (C3), Camp 4 (C4) and the summit.
Current progress: Our collective Sherpas have previously established the fixed ropes to 200 meters below C3 (C3 is at 7,550 metres or 24,800 ft) over the last 10 days. On July 5, 6 and 7 the collective Sherpas climbed to C2 for their second time, and attempted to complete the installation of the fixed ropes to C3 and push ahead fixing ropes to C4. However K2 had a different plan. The weather the last few days at C2 was very high winds, blowing snow and very cold. The Sherpas waited at C2 in our tents for two days then finally have to retreat back to BC on July 8, 2016, unfortunately without any progress. With the difficult weather, terrain and altitude, the Sherpas are tired and will require a rest for a few days after this attempt, to try a third attempt to push higher up K2 above C2.
Work to be completed: Currently the Sherpas still have to install the fixed ropes from 200 meters or 600 ft below C3 to the summit of K2 (which is about 4,000 ft from C3 to the summit), establishing C3 and C4 camps and stocking C3 and C4 with tents, food, fuel, O2, equipment and other supplies.
Note on O2: Climbers, guides and Sherpas (total of about 30 people) for the two expeditions will be on full O2 from C2 to K2 summit and back to C2 on summit bid. The two expeditions will require over 120 bottles of O2 to be in place at the respective camps of C2, C3 and C4. Each bottle weighs about eight pounds when full of O2 and a Sherpa or Porter will normally carry 4-5 full bottles up the mountain. It’s 2-3 days to C4 from BC for Sherpas and Porters with a load as they also have to carry their own food, eating and sleeping gear.
The decision was made on July 8 that the team will leave for their summit bid on July 10, 2016.
The climbers left BC at 4:00AM this morning. They arrived safely at C1 at 11:50AM. They are resting and will leave for C2 tomorrow. The rope lines are still only completed 200 metres below C3. The Sherpas hope to make progress tomorrow to fix and set ropes above C3.