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Karakorum Storm: Death on Broad Peak and K2 Climbers Stalled

It is summit-push season in the high Karakorum and while climbers approach the tops of Broad Peak and K2, a storm is wreaking havoc.

Heavy snows and warm temperatures are to blame for a recent avalanche below Camp 1 on Broad Peak that injured several climbers and took the life of one Pakistani High Altitude Porter. Chris Burke wrote, “Meanwhile, avalanches continue to fall in the mountains around us.  We are tired.  We are sad.  We need time to absorb today’s events.” Read more from Burke here.

Altitude Pakistan wrote the following on their website: “A group of Japanese and Chinese climbers along with Pakistani HAPs and Sherpa were on the way to C1, when an avalanche came down at around 11 hours local time.

Broad Peak. Photo Summit Post
Broad Peak. Photo Summit Post

“Seven climbers were swept down the mountain. One of the injured Sherpa called BC and search & rescue mission was launched immediately. Six climbers, including seriously injured Japanese member of Summit Climb team Ms. Sumiyo Tsuzuki, were lowered to BC and given immediate medication.

“However, a Pakistani HAP of Seven Summit Treks team couldn’t be located. Missing HAP (name withheld as the family needs to be notified) has been unfortunately presumed dead.”

Garrett Madison has a team of climbers on K2 and they just returned from their first and only acclimatization rotation to Camp 2, but are now waiting for snow to settle. Madison wrote, “Because of daily snowfall, and the inherent risk of avalanches, we cannot plan to climb or carry up supplies until the weather improves and conditions stabilize. Currently we will be resting in base camp at least a few more days before possibly making a move up on our summit attempt.”

Climbers on K2 will have to wait for at least two days for the snow to settle as stated by standard mountain protocol for the second highest peak in the world.

K2.  Photo Altitude Pakistan
K2. Photo Altitude Pakistan

Over on Gasherbrum, Nic Rice wrote, “The weather report I have is not very encouraging, however, I remain hopeful that the usual end of July summit window will somehow materialize and that the forecast heavy snow will not… It would seem that Gasherbrum I may be impossible this year. Perhaps one or two climbers might sneak up the peak and get off safely, however, I’m not willing to take the risk.”

Watch a documentary by Tunc Findik about a K2 expedition:

– Sourced from Explorers Web, Alan Arnette, Madison Mountaineering