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K2’s West Ridge Team Prepares for Another Attempt

Ian Welsted and Graham Zimmerman are hoping to make a rare alpine-style attempt up the world's second-highest mountain at 8,611 metres

Canadian alpinist and Piolet d’Or recipient Ian Welsted and American high-altitude climber Graham Zimmerman are hoping to make an alpine-style attempt at the west ridge of K2 this summer. They’ve spent the past month preparing and acclimatizing.

Known as Chogori by the Balti, Kang Fang by the people to the north in what is now China, and named K2 by the British Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, it’s one of the most dangerous mountains in the world.

The K2 expedition teams will be leaving base camp for the summit, aiming for July 27 and 28. A snow storm with high winds pounded the mountain this week, which will seriously affect the conditions on all routes.

Welsted and Zimmerman have already climbed up some of the west ridge, but got turned around and off route. “Progress on the west ridge has been moving in fits and starts,” Zimmerman said. “Route finding on the bottom of the route has been more complex than expected, and the early spring snow has caused problems.”

They’re currently waiting for another weather window, which might be just around the corner.  “A weather window is on its way at the end of the week, and we’ll be back at it,” said Zimmerman.