Outdoors Magazine

Winter Climb Updates: COLD!

Posted on the 20 January 2012 by Kungfujedi @Kungfujedi
Winter Climb Updates: COLD! It has been another trying week in the Karakoram, where the winter weather continues to test the strength and patience of the climbers there. Cold temperatures, high winds, and snow are the norm this time of year, and unending days with those conditions can take their toll on anyone. Still, the teams that have traveled to those remote mountains knew this would be the case ahead of time, and so they go about their work as best they can.
On K2, the Russians have rebuilt their Camp 1 after it was demolished by hurricane force winds earlier in the week. They've also spent the past few days shuttling gear back up the mountain, and now have supplies in both C1 and C2. They report that their Camp 2 didn't suffer nearly as much damage as they feared, and as a result, they've already gone back to work fixing lines when they can.
The weather report for the next few days doesn't look very promising, particularly at altitude. Summit winds on K2 are predicted to exceed 100 kph/62 mph, but fortunately none of the team will be coming anywhere close to the summit anytime soon. Instead, they'll take the weather windows where they can get them, and methodically go about the work of fixing lines to Camp 3.
Just how bad is the weather on K2? Check out a video the team posted yesterday by clicking here. About a minute it you'll get a glimpse of what it was like in Base Camp when the high winds hit a few days back.
On Nanga Parbat, Denis Urubko and Simone Moro are also reporting very cold temperatures, but despite those conditions, they know they still have to move up the mountain. With that in mind, they carried gear up to 5800m (19,028 ft) and worked on acclimatizing a few days back, but were stunned to learn of the loss of their friend and climbing partner Mario Merelli, who fell while climbing back in Italy. With that news hitting them hard, the duo elected to descend back to BC and rest for a few days while mourning their friend.
Finally, the Polish Team making its way to Gasherbrum I is still on the trekking route, as is Alex Txikon who is headed to the same mountain. Both squads are about halfway through the trek and expect to reach Base Camp next week, where they'll organize their gear, get established, and start acclimatizing to the peak. Expect more news on their progress once they start fixing lines and moving up.

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