K2 2021 Summer Coverage: Season Wrap-Up and What's Next?

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By Alan Arnette. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

In this episode I close out the summer climbing season in Pakistan's Karakorum area. Also I discuss what we can expect in the world of mountaineering over the next several months.

The summer Karakorum season is over, well, I think so. There are always a few surprises. The 48 summits on K2 were close but not a record. 2018 saw a record with 62 total summits, followed by 2004 with an estimated 51. This season saw two deaths, one on a new route on K2 and one on Broad Peak. Overall there were around 100 summits in the Karakorum.

With COVID lurking, the climbing season in the Karakoram was not as large as everyone hoped. Permits issued this summer were for 75 support climbers with 128 foreigners. Many BP climbers were also on K2, so there are duplicates; thus, the total is less than 203, probably around 185. permits for the various peaks, including the four 8000ers: K2, Broad Peak, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, and Gasherbrum II. Overall there were around 90 to 100 total summits across all the 8000ers, with none on Nanga.

As usual in the Karakorum, the weather played a role this summer. Conditions began well, but soon a steady mix of snow and wind halted progress allowing only a few sporadic days where teams tried to thread the needle. It wasn’t until late July that a long enough window emerged that allowed climber to ascend and descend K2 safely.

A new factor this season was the new 4G cell tower recently installed in Concordia. Even with sporadic outages due to weather and power, teams were able to send updates to social media and home, plus I was able to do live Zoom interviews directly from Base Camp! Now on to who did what.

Climb On!

Alan

Memories are Everything

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