Monday, July 4, 2011

FTA K2/Broad Peak 2011 - Second round of acclimatization done...summit bids ahead!

From Stu in the USA office
July 4, 2011

Chris has called in from BC to let us know that everyone is well and that most of team is in BC resting up for a summit bid. Sophie and Lakpa have remained high and are hoping for a break on Thursday in the winds to make a summit attempt. The remainder of the team is down at BC resting up for the next few days and then will hope for a good window perhaps around the 9th or 10th.

The camp 4 that sometimes we establish is often placed on a small flat area at around 7500m and it is quite a spot! It can reduce the summit day by a few crucial hours and especially when the summit ridge is giving short windows of low wind this can be the small advantage making a summit bid possible.

The lonely camp 4 at 7500m © stu remensnyder

The views from C4 are spectacular but one rarely gets much sleep there between the altitude and the anticipation of leaving early for a summit bid. The sun comes onto the slope quite late in the morning so it is a very cold start and the ridge offers the first rays of warming sun. With summit winds to remain at or above 30km/hr Sophie and Lakpa will have their work cut out for them to make it to the top and back safely.

They will have to negotiate the summit ridge which is quite steep on both sides  and offers little protection from wind. We have seen summits in winds like this before but they are very demanding and most parties will wait for a lower winds. As Chris says in his dispatch Lakpa and Sophie will try to thread the weather needle later this week so we wish a great window for them!

In the image below you can see the true summit of Broad Peak well back to the left and the rocky summit directly ahead. The distance between the rocky and true summits is some 900m with only a 12m rise. With calm winds this is a lot of work and in high winds a nearly unimaginable amount of effort.

After reaching the top or a high point then one must negotiate a winding ridge back to the relative safety of the col at 7850m. From there it is a short rappel/downclimb to the main slopes leading back to high camp. This upper slope has a few narrow crevasses which must be negotiated. They can be hard to see from above and have been the site of at least a few serious accidents requiring evacs from high on the hill. After winding through the upper slopes it is finally back to the warm tent and a hot brew!

Summit ridge view to the col © stu remensnyder

We'll have more news shortly about any summit bids!

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