Early birds on Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak
(K2Climb.net) The early birds on Nanga Parbat and Broad Peak are working together to break trail and make their way up to higher camps before the crowds arrive. Small teams on Nanga - currently overloaded with snow - are happy to have the extra help, while the 'monster' teams descending on Broad are getting a warmer welcome than they expected.
Nanga: The more the merrier
“We're sharing Camp 2 with a guided German group,” reported American guide Tom Torkelson. “At this point we'll join forces; they like having another guide around, and we need help breaking trail in the deep snow.”
Tom and the Germans (probably Amical team) hope to set C3 and C4 in their current push up the mountain. “The Kinshofer Rocks was tougher than we expected. There's comfort in knowing that there's nothing this hard above us,” reported Tom.
But however technically easy it may seem, the upper slopes of Nanga are no easy deal when overloaded with snow. “The snow is getting deeper as we go higher,” he said.
According to Torkelson, there are five other teams currently climbing Nanga Parbat, making a total of 25 climbers, 14 local staff, and 8 nationalities. The latest additions were a lonely Italian climber (name unknown) and a Korean expedition.
BP: Nothing you can do when crowds arrive
As for Broad Peak – teams are a little less balanced.
An Australian and an Austrian team were the first to get there, and the first to start working their way up to higher camps. They had the peak to themselves until a huge team launched by FTA arrived. Whether you like it or not, there isn't much you can do when a 21 member team (plus crew) descends upon BC, hoping to climb the same route you’re working on.
“Today we have 18 of our 21 climbers on Broad Peak,” reported FTA team member Alan Arnette from C1 yesterday. “Thankfully the other two teams up here, the Australians and the Austrians are working well with our monster team and in fact are even sharing their tents with us.”
Great weather in the Karakorum
“The weather continues to be unbelievable,” added Alan, who hopes to win C2 today. “We’re having perfectly clear days (almost too hot) to cold nights that justify the heavy sleeping bags. Occasionally we experience some strong wind gusts and snow squalls but nothing organized or sustained.”
After summiting Everest in 2005 and Cho Oyu in 2004, VisionQuest Director and Lead Guide Tom Torkelson is climbing Pakistan's Nanga Parbat with a small German team. The team consists of Johannes Neideggen and Toni Betker, from Angermunde, Germany. Tony will remain in BC, while Johannes and Tom climb the Kinshofer route, on the Diamir side of the mountain.
Dave Hancock’s Australian outfitter Field Touring Alpine has launched the first commercial expedition for both Broad Peak and K2. Although not exactly guided (each climber must be self-sufficient and decided on schedules), the team is fully supported.
The huge team consists of 25 international climbers, most of them fairly experienced in altitude and ranging from 23 to 62 years old. Some of them will attempt the double-header while others are only aiming for Broad. A few members will be climbing K2 without O2; those using supplementary oxygen be using Poisk for the climb. Climbing team leader is Jeff Justman.
The team will climb BP from the standard West Ridge route. Meanwhile, their altitude porters will fix lines and set the first camps on K2. Once acclimatized, the climbers will go for the Abruzzi Spur on K2. They are hopeful that they’ll need only a couple of climbs to C1 and C3 before a definitive summit bid.
FTA's team official list of members:
Jeff Justman - Leader K2-BP - Leader US
Ryan Waters - Asst Leader K2-BP - Asst. Leader US
Kurt Grimm K2-BP US
Mich Murphy K2-BP Ireland
Carl Drew K2-BP US
Matthew Gardiner K2-BP UK
Josette Valloton K2 only Switzerland
Nick Barclay K2-BP Australia
Wilco van Rooijen K2-BP Dutch
Joelle Bruphacher K2-BP Switzerland
Alan Arnette K2-BP US
Marcus Dell BP-K2 Canada
Gerard McDonnell K2-BP Ireland
Jan Van der Meer BP Dutch
John Roche BP Ireland
Ian de Bruyn BP South Africa/Australia
Diane Walker BP South Africa/Australia
Mark Sheen BP Australia
John Dowd BP Ireland
Michael Parker BP Australia
Con Collins BP Ireland .