K2, the last of the 8000er never been climbed in winters, returns back in the lime light as two strong contingents have begun to lay siege of the treacherous rock in the Karakorum. Denis Urubko has returned with an ambitious plan to capture K2 for the first winter ascent but also to attempt the Broad Peak initiating a combo of two winter 8000ers never done before. Denis is accompanied by Canadian Don Bowie and Lotta Hintsa- a famous Finnish Model/climber with a decent resume for 8000ers.
With Denis, the selection of a climbing partner can be tricky primarily because for his known restlessness and urgency to get the peak done as soon as possible. He was part of the Polish Expedition to K2 last year where he had serious arguments with Expedition Leader and old friend Krzysztof Wielicki after which he was asked to leave the expedition.
Bowie comes with loads of experience of the Karakorums having taken down K2 in the summers of 2007.
Bowie was also part of the winter expedition in 2008/9 to Broad Peak led by the phenomenal Artur Hajzer where he reached the altitude of 7000m on the west face (traditional route) before calling it off. Denis, while announcing his winter plans at Zakopane Film Festival had said, “If I can climb the broad peak I will be acclimatized- so if the weather will be favorable and if i have the right partner I will go to K2 but climb in winter is a very big risk”.
Italian ace and world record holder for four winter 8000ers, Simone Moro is back in Pakistan with his favorite climbing partner Tamara Lunger, for an unprecedented Traverse of G1 and G2. Moro plans to climb G1 and without returning to Base Camp, traverse the center glacier and climb G2 in a continuous climbing spree. Such a traverse was last successfully attempted 35 years ago by Reinhold Messner and was never repeated even in summers let alone in winters.
The famous Nepalese Mingma Gayle Sherpa along with Icelander Jon Snorri has already reached the K2 Base Camp planning to launch their attempt as soon as they get good weather on their hands. Mingma confronted serious shortage of funds to get the expedition on the wheels and had to launch crowd funding to meet the financial targets for the expedition.
It is expected that both expeditions on K2 will take the Abruzzi Spur as the possible climbing route especially in view of the experiences of last year’s Polish Expedition.
Base Camp temperatures at Broad Peak have been dipping as low as -40 Celsius with wind speeds of 130km/h (reported by Denis) which predicts the future course of events as bleak and scary.