K2 Russian Winter Expedition 2011-12

Russian Team now inside the “Death Valley” at 7200m on K-2

Russian National Team Expedition for K-2 First Winter Ascent, have now successfully reached 7,200m amid fierce weather and wind speeds soaring to Hurricane levels. The team will now be pitched in the most difficult climbing area better known as the ” Death Valley” on K-2. They have already gone past the Black Pyramid and will gradually climb their way up the 400m “Bottleneck”.
Following the Cessen route, often touted as The Bask Route, the team leader Victor Kozlov is leading from the front and the group comprising of Nick Totmjanin, Valery Shamalo and Vitaly Gorelik lifted gear to 7000 m via  fixed ropes. By February 2nd, Trio Iljas Tukhvatullin, Andrew Mariev and Vadim Popovich reached 7050m and fixed ropes for the ascent ahead but could not fix the tent due to steep slope and lose snow.

All the team members have now reached the Base Camp as the the weather guru Karl Gabl has warned of bad weather ahead. Vitaly Gorelik is the next victim of frostbite after Vladimir Belous, despite being clad in astronaut suits, especially designed to fight piercing snow storms on high altitudes. He has acquired frostbite on both hands and will have to wait for the evacuation as the Pakistan Military Liason Officer has apologized to call in airlift in wake of deteriorating weather

Karl Gabl from Innsbruck reports, “In the next days the Jetstream will get further north directly over Karakorum. It will be very stormy in higher regions. In 8000m wind speed will reach hurricane force.  Also some snowfall will appear.

Wind Situation: European Model

———–2.02. — 3.02. — 4.02. — 5.02. — 6.02.
———–THU —  FRI ——- SAT — SUN — MON
7000m SW50 SW70/90 SW115/90 SW100 SW 100 kph
8000m SW70 SW90 — SW125 SW125/140 SW125

Temperature in free Atmosphere

7000m -29 -32 -35 -35 -36 њC
8000m -37 -41 -42 -41 -42


Snowfall from today in the next days, probably till the 7th of February. Some models show only light snowfall, one model shows about at least 50 to 60 cm of fresh snow”.  Gabl is the only meteorologist in the world who is heavily relied upon by the mountaineers in the Karakorum and Himalayas and provides accurate hourly predictions.  His predictions in the past have led to several successful attempts both in winters and summers.