Showing posts with label Alan Arnette. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alan Arnette. Show all posts

Will the Everest 2017 Season Be One for the Record Books?

The start of the 2017 spring climbing season on Everest is still a couple of months off, but already there are climbers, guides, and Everest junkies all over the world who are gearing up for its start. Amongst them is mountaineer/blogger Alan Arnette, who always follows the climbing scene on the Big Hill closely and provides excellent insights as to what to expect and thoughts on events as they are developing. With a new season on the horizon, Alan is currently looking ahead and says that we can expect big things this year.

In an article posted to his blog yesterday, Alan says that 2017 is looking like a year for the record books. Two months before the first climbers start to arrive in Kathmandu, he is already predicting a record number of summits and many new climbers in Base Camp. This is in part because of the low cost operators who have begun taking over the mountain. This has allowed an influx of climbers from India and China in particular, and since those operators don't mind dealing with large groups of clients. In some cases, more than 100 at a time.

But beyond that, there are a number of stories to watch this year that should prove of interest. For instance, Alan notes (as we have here at The Adventure Blog) that Ueli Steck is planning to return to attempt an Everest-Lhotse Traverse. He also mentions the Indian survey team that will be measuring the current height of Everest to see if the 2015 earthquake has had an impact on that number. And as if that wasn't enough, Alan also notes that Nepali Min Bahadur Sherchan will be on the mountain in an attempt to set a new record for the oldest person to summit. At the age of 86, Min Bahadur says he is still in good shape and ready to go.

Of course, this is probably just the tip of the iceberg in terms of storylines and drama that we'll see on Everest this spring. As always, it will be a never ending source of inspiration and motivation, and probably a bit of controversy along the way too. It wouldn't be Everest otherwise. Stay tuned for regular reports throughout the spring as events unfold.

Alan Arnette Answers Common Questions About Everest for 2017

The spring climbing season on Everest is still two months off, but as I write this there are hundreds of climbers around the world who are preparing to leave for the Himalaya in a few short weeks. While they still have plenty of time to get ready, there is always lots of gear to buy and organize, training to conduct, and daily affairs to get in order before leaving for Base Camp for two months. It is a busy, hectic, and exciting time for many of them, with a major challenge looming on the horizon.

Awhile back, mountaineering blogger Alan Arnette posted a Personal Letter to Everest climbers for 2017, in which he posed some serious questions for them to think about before they go. In that letter, Alan urged anyone who was considering making the climb to think long and hard about whether or not they were ready for such a challenge, as he pointed out that most of the deaths on the mountain since 2000 were due to lack of experience. As a follow up to that post, Alan – who has been on Everest numerous times – answered the very questions he posed, providing some insight into what you should know before you go.

One of the most common questions that people have is how high should they have climbed previously before trying Everest. Alan says that it depends on the person of course, but he recommends having at least one other 8000 meter peak under your belt before heading to the Big Hill. But, that is just one of many very specific questions on this list, which includes Alan's thoughts on regulating the flow of oxygen on the way to the summit, what kind of foods you should eat while on the expedition, how long to give fresh snow a chance to settle before moving up, and more. The blog post talks acclimatization strategy, physical conditioning, dealing with fatigue, and lots of other issues that climbers deal with on Everest.

This is one of those blog posts that provides a ton of insight from someone who has been on the mountain. While you can often read about the experience, or even watch it unfold in videos and movies, it is hard to pick up these pearls of wisdom from those sources. The questions and answers that Alan provides are useful on a different level, sometimes addressing minute details that are only learned through years of experience. That makes this an interesting read for those of us who follow the Everest climbing scene closely.

To read those insights for yourself, click here.

How Much Does it Cost to Climb Everest? (2017 Edition)

As I already mentioned today, as 2016 grinds to an end, it is time to start looking ahead to 2017 and adventures yet to come. A bit part of that will be what happens on Everest next spring, and to get ready for the start of another season of climbing on the Big Hill, Alan Arnette has once again posted his annual look at the cost of climbing Everest. If you've ever wondered how much you'd have to spend to go up the highest mountain on the planet, Alan breaks it down nicely for us, and explains where all of the cash goes. He also takes a look at the trends impacting pricing, and where we're headed in the future too.

As usual, there is a lot to sift through in Alan's report, and he does a much better job of breaking everything down than I could ever possibly hope to do. But, there are a few things that stick out as you examine the price of climbing on Everest in 2017. First, and unsurprisingly, costs are increasing, particularly on the Chinese side of the mountain in Tibet where Alan says the average price of an expedition has gone up 22% over last year. That is largely in part because of higher costs of permits from the North Side this season.

The price of a standard supported climb now ranges from $28,000 to $85,000, with the level of "support" varying greatly of course. The top end of spectrum stretches out to $115,000 for a custom climb, while those who want to mostly go it alone can get by for as little as $20,000. Alan points out that most of the lower-end prices come from Nepali companies who have been competing on price to win customers in recent years, but even their costs are starting to inch up as they realize there is more money to be made. But, if you still want to get a great deal, they are more willing to haggle than their Western competitors.

Following the highly successful 2016, which came after two very tumultuous seasons in 2014 and 2017, the demand for climbing on Everest is expected to be higher than ever. More climbers are now coming to the mountain from China and India, as well as other parts of the world, which is pushing the need for more guides and more options. In the wake of this vacuum, new companies are stepping up to provide services for all of these clients, and as a result pricing is in flux at the moment. In also calls into question the safety of climbing on the mountain, as it continues to become even more crowded. How this impacts things going forward should be interesting, and hopefully not tragic.

Other interesting elements from Alan's price guide include a breakdown of how much each element of the climb costs – including permits, travel, insurance, gear, and so on. He also has a complete list of operators and their expected costs for 2017, as well as some answers to common questions. In short, it is a great primer for understanding the basics of a climb, and just why it costs so much.

If you're thinking about making the climb yourself, you'll definitely want to give this a read. And start saving your pennies of course. Even a "low-end" Everest climb is still quite an investment.

Alan Arnette Interviews Dave Hahn on the State of Everest in 2016

The fall climbing season in the Himalaya may be all but over, but the crown jewel of that mountain chain – Mt. Everest – seems to constantly be in the spotlight these days. At the moment, we're about five months away from the start of the 2017 spring climbing season on the world's highest peak, and while that may seem like a long way off, for those planning to climb it next year, it is closer than you think.

In preparation for the season ahead, Alan Arnette sat down with mountaineering guide Dave Hahn to talk about the current state climbing on the Big Hill. For those who don't know, Dave has been a guide with RMI for more than 30 years, and has 15 successful summits of Everest on his resume. That's more than any other foreign climber. Additionally, Alan points out that Hahn has also climbed Rainier more than 275 times, has 35 successful summits of Vinson, 22 on Denali, and has also led teams up Aconcagua and Cho Oyu, amongst numerous other mountains.

In the interview, which can be found here, Dave talks about the mainstream media's approach to covering climbing expeditions on Everest, the current level of safety for climbing on the mountain and the Himalaya in general, as well as steps that the Nepali government could take to improve the level of safety overall. He also shares his thoughts on the rising number of low-cost, Nepali-owned, operators on Everest and what that means for the future of guided climbing in the Himalaya.

The extensive interview also touches on the challenges of climbing from the north side of the mountain versus the south, the growing crowds on summit days, whether or not Nepal should limit the number of permits issued to climbers, and a whole lot more. Dave goes on to discuss his personal future on Everest (private guiding), the clients that he likes to guide, and whether or not he'll be on the mountain next spring.

If you follow the Everest climbing scene closely, or would like to know more about the current state of affairs on the world's highest peak, this is a good interview to read. Dave has always been a forthright guy in terms of answering questions and sharing his thoughts, and that certainly is the case here too. Check out the entire blog post by clicking here.

Himalaya Fall 2016: Controversy on Manaslu - 150 Summit without Actually Reaching the Top

The climbing season on Manaslu may be long over, but the 8163-meter (26,781 ft) mountain continues to garner headlines thanks to this article from The Himalayan times. The story says that of the 150 climbers who summited the mountain this year, only a fraction actually reached the true summit, which is typically defined as the highest point on the mountain. That's because Manaslu's highest point is incredibly dangerous to reach, which calls into question whether or not you actually did get the summit after all.

Those in the know in the mountaineering world understand that there is a narrow ridge that is covered in a snow cornice that runs out to the actual summit of the mountain. That ridge is unstable and difficult to cross, particularly in high winds or other poor weather conditions. As a result, about 90% of the climbers this season turned back approximately 5 to 10 meters below the actual top of the mountain, but still claimed a full summit anyway. This has sparked some debate as to whether or not those claims are actually true.

In writing about a slew of climbing expeditions this fall, Alan Arnette also weighed in on the topic, sharing some of his own experiences. He also reminds us that a Japanese climber perished on Manaslu this year when he fell through the cornice while trying to reach the true summit. That's an indication of just how dangerous the final approach to the top truly is. Although as Alan points out via a quote from Himex boss Russel Brice, the blame is square placed on the team that was put in charge of fixing the ropes to the summit, but failed to complete the final 20 meters, which directly led to this fatality a few weeks back.

When considering where to actually give credit to someone for making the summit on Manaslu, it is important to also note that the incredibly narrow approach to the top serves as a significant bottle-neck for those going up and coming down. It would literally take hours for everyone to shuffle across the approach ridge, even if it were completely safe. That would leave climbers standing in line at the top of the mountain while they waited their turn, leaving them exposed to the elements the entire time. Most of the operators on Manaslu aren't willing to put their clients through that kind of difficulty, so they certify summits at the lower point on the mountain.

On the other hand, getting credit for a summit has always been about reaching the highest point. To take that away from experience doesn't seem completely fair either. Yes, it would mean fewer people climbing Manaslu if they actually had to negotiate that tough final portion of the ascent, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing either. There is a part of me that feels that if you want to actually receive a summit certificate you should have to reach the actual true summit to get credit. Anything else, just comes up short. It is up to the climbers themselves if they actually want to complete those final 20 meters or play it safe and turn back below that point. But if they don't get all the way up, the wouldn't earn full credit either.

Obviously this is a tough call. For safety sake, I understand why they turn back. But for the pure mountaineering aspects of it, they should actually touch the highest point in my opinion.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Himalaya Spring 2016: Alan Arnette Posts Pre-Season Preview

Even though the calendar says that it is only February, the 2016 spring climbing season in the Himalaya really isn't all that far off. In less than two months, climbers from all over the world will be finalizing their travel plans, packing their gear, and saying goodbye to loved ones as they head off to Nepal and Tibet to begin what is sure to be another very interesting year in the tallest mountains on the planet.

By most accounts, it is shaping up to be a quieter year on Everest, where tragedies the past two seasons have put an abrupt end to climbing operations. Several of the leading outfitters that operate on the mountain say that the number of clients they'll be guiding this year are down, as many are taking a wait and see attitude. That said however, I'm sure Everest will still be a very lively place to be this spring, with lots of great stories to follow.

In preparation for the start of the season, Alan Arnette has already kicked off his now legendary coverage of the proceedings on the mountain. Yesterday, Alan posted his preview of the 2016 spring season ahead, which fittingly enough begins with a recap of some of the major stories from the past few years – including a much publicized brawl between Sherpas and prominent climbers, the deaths of 19 Sherpas as a result of the collapse of a serac in 2014, and the devastating aftermath of the deadly earthquake that struck last year.

Each of those events has left its mark on the climbing community on Everest in the past few years, causing some to sour on attempting to summit the tallest mountain on the planet. But many of us believe that these are just temporary setbacks that will be overcome as we move forward.

In his article, Alan takes a look ahead at the 2016 season, which he too expects to have low numbers for several reasons. The lingering impact of the earthquake – at least in terms of public perceptions – is a major one of course, but also because Nepal is in the middle of a significant fuel crisis, with a shortage of gas making its way into the country thanks to a blockade from India. On top of that, expedition companies are being forced to raise their prices too, which of course has an impact on how many people sign up for an expedition as well.

If you're someone who keeps up with the Everest scene each year, you'll definitely want to give this a look. It provides some great insights into what is happening in Nepal presently, and how the currently political culture there is shaping the climbing season ahead. As always, it shouldn't have any shortage of intrigue and surprises.

Himalaya Fall 2015: Risk and Reward on Manaslu - A Review of the Season

As the fall 2015 Himalayan season slowly grinds to a halt, it is good to reflect on the events that have transpired. If you've been reading my reports with any regularity, you probably already know that the weather has been unpredictable, and generally bad, all season long. As a result, it has been difficult for any teams to summit their intended mountains. This has been particularly true on the 8000 meter peaks, where success has been fleeting this autumn. But way back in late September and early October, there was a lot of action taking place on Manaslu, the 8156 meter (26,759 ft) mountain that saw the most climbers this season.

If you were reading my updates back than, the situation probably seemed a bit confusing. As the climbing season was unfolding, the teams on Manaslu seemed to be making progress, despite poor weather conditions. But as they grew closer to the time when they would potentially make their summit bid, several high profile teams (Himex, Altitude Junkies, Adventure Consultants, and others) decided to cancel their expeditions and head home. It appeared that the mountain simply wasn't safe enough to climb, as heavy snow made the risk of avalanches extremely high.

But as these big commercial teams departed for Kathmandu, a funny thing happened. The weather improved, conditions on the mountain got better, and just a few days after they left Base Camp, other teams went up to the summit. In fact, 80 people managed to top out, although sadly one lost his life and another had to be rescued from Camp 4.

So what exactly happened on the mountain that caused some teams to head home, and others to say and find success? That is the subject of the most recent blog post from Alan Arnette, who monitors the climbing seasons in the Himalaya very closely. Alan has heard directly from a number of people who were there, with each weighing in with their thoughts on how things developed. The article isn't meant to point fingers or cast blame in any way at all, but is instead a study of how teams weigh the risks of the climb, and decide whether or not they should go for the summit, or pull the plug altogether and go home.

For those of us who follow these kinds of expeditions closely, reading Alan's article is very interesting. It offers some insights into how decisions are made in these situations, particularly when the lives of clients are at risk. His conclusion is that the larger commercial teams will be more conservative in their assessments, while the smaller teams may be willing to accept more risk for the chance of successfully summiting.

Read the entire article here and draw your own conclusions. It is definitely a good report on what happened on Manaslu this season, and the thought process that went into making those choices.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Teams Arriving in Everest Base Camp, Summit Bids Delayed on Annapurna

The spring climbing season in the Himalaya is about to get a whole lot more interesting. As expected, teams began arriving in Everest Base Camp over the weekend, and while they'll take a day or two to get settled, it won't be long before they start heading up the mountain itself, or visiting nearby peaks to launch acclimatization and training rotations on other mountains. For some, the skills training has already begun, with a number of units entering the Khumbu Icefall to work on their rope skills. Others are just now arriving, but will begin the real work soon.

Amongst those expected to arrive in EBC today are Alan Arnette. He checked in from Gorak Shep – the last stop before reaching the mountain – yesterday, and shared plenty of interesting news from the Khumbu. For instance, Alan has learned that there are roughly 319 individual climbers who have received permits to climb Everest this year. With a few more teams yet to check in, that puts the numbers on par with last year. That means that the tragedy from last season, and the ensuing shutdown of climbing operations, hasn't dissuaded anyone from coming to the mountain. Of those, 109 have returned from last year, with the Nepali government honoring their permits from 2014. Also, Alan says that there are an additional 96 climbers on Lhotse as well.

Perhaps more of interest is the changing dynamic of the teams on the mountain. Traditionally, squads led by western guide services bring about 8-12 clients to Everest, but there are now Nepali owned companies who have as many as 60 people in their groups. This is, of course, an economics of scale move, allowing them to bring the price of the climb down through larger numbers. One has to wonder however if they are sacrificing safety in the process.

Even more dismaying is that Alan reports that he has yet to see any evidence of the changes that the Nepali government promised in the wake of the two disasters last year – the avalanche on Everest that claimed the lives of 16 porters, and the massive blizzard that killed 45+ trekkers last fall. After those two incidences the government promised better weather forecasting, improved communications, GPS tracking systems, and an increased presence of medical and liaison offers with the teams. In Alan's own words, these improvements have yet to materialize, making me wonder if they are just more empty promises meant to assuage the fears of potential visitors and the media that covers these events.

Alan also reports that the Khumbu Valley seems to be changing as well. He says that the staff in the teahouses don't seem as cordial as they have been in the past, and prices for food, drinks, and lodging have gone up significantly. He also says that the teahouses are more full than ever, making the common rooms far busier and more noisy in the past. That's good for business in the region of course, but it also is changing the experience of trekking to EBC too.

All of that said, once the climbing teams reach Base Camp, they'll start to focus more on the business of climbing. Soon, these reports will turn more towards status updates as they work their way up the mountain, focus on getting acclimatized, and eventually launch summit bids. That is still several weeks off however, and for now it's all about getting settled into what will be their home for the next month or so.

Meanwhile, over on Annapurna, the summit bids that were expected to begin over the weekend have been cancelled. On Friday, the weather forecasts looked very promising for the days ahead, but that changed dramatically over the weekend. Now, large storms are moving into the area, and are expected to bring as much as 5 feet (1.5 meters) of snow along with them. That will prevent anyone from going anywhere near the top, and could increase the danger of avalanches in the days ahead. So, for now, Carlos Soria, Chris Jensen Burke, and others sit in BC and wait for that ever elusive opportunity to go up.

That is all for today. I'll report more as the news warrants it. For now, most of the teams are still getting settled in Everest Base Camp, but expect the first forays through the Icefall – along the new route new less – to begin in just a few days time. Things will start to get much busier now, and the real climbing is about to begin.

Himalaya Spring 2015: Teams on the Move

The poor weather that was preventing the climbers in Nepal from departing Kathmandu has dissipated over the past few days, and numerous teams are now on the move in the Khumbu Valley. Many are now making the long hike to Everest Base Camp, which actually marks the beginning of their acclimatization process for the climb to come. The trek takes roughly 8-10 days to complete, but is an important step for getting both physically and mentally prepared for the challenges ahead. Along the way they pass through numerous small villages filled with wonderful, inviting, people as they walk in the shadow of some of the most beautiful mountains on the planet. It is a truly memorable hike for those heading to Lhotse or the South Side of Everest.

Among those currently on the trail is Alan Arnette, who checked in from Namche Bazaar over the weekend. Namche is the largest town in the Khumbu, and one of the first milestones achieved on the trek. It is reached after just two days of hiking, but requires a tough slog up a steep hill to actually get to the village. Most trekkers and climbers take a rest day in Namche after they reach that point in order to let their bodies get use to the altitude. It is also one of the last places to purchase a piece of gear that you may have forgotten, or enjoy a few other amenities. The villages that follow are increasingly smaller, and have fewer shops and restaurants.

One of the familiar sounds of the Khumbu is the frequent ringing of bells that hang around the necks of the yaks that are used to carry gear, food, and other supplies to the various towns and camps that dot the landscape there. Anyone who has ever hiked through Nepal will recognize the distinctive sound immediately, and know that a yak train is coming through so they had better get off the trail. Yaks are indispensable in this part of the world, and are about as common on the trail as hikers. Watching them carry their heavy loads – at altitude – with ease is fascinating.

Also now on the move in the Khumbu Valley is the Altitude Junkies team. They reached Namche on Saturday and spent the traditional rest day there yesterday. They'll get back on the trail today as they head for Dingboche, the next popular stop on the hike. If they continue on schedule, the AJ squad should reach Base Camp sometime next weekend.

Meanwhile, Madison Mountaineering is sharing the first look at the new route through the Khumbu Icefall. In order to avoid some of the dangers that the porters faced last year – and which contributed to the avalanche that claimed 16 lives – the Icefall Doctors have pioneered a new route through this very dangerous section of the climb. The route now stays further to the right than what has been taken in the past, veering towards Nuptse. The hope is that this section of the climb will be much safer, and get the climbers through this treacherous section as quickly as possible.

Over on Annapurna the teams are still waiting for conditions to improve before they head up. But solo-climber Alex Barber has been working on his acclimatization in preparation for a summit bid down the line. After arriving in BC last week, he has now gone as high as Camp 2, and spent the night there, as he lets his body get use to the altitude. Over the weekend Alex returned to Base Camp however, where he is now waiting for conditions to improve before going back up once again.

Spanish climber Carlos Soria is hoping to launch his summit bid soon, and reports that the upper slopes of Annapurna are clear of snow at the moment. That bodes well for the climbers who are waiting for the weather to improve. Once a weather window opens, they can then proceed up with less fears of avalanches, something that the mountain is well known for this time of year.

Even though the season is now underway, most climbers are still en route to their respective Base Camps. For the most part, the climbing portion of their expeditions won't get underway for another week or so, but this is all part of the process, and crucial to their preparation. Things will really start to get exciting soon, but for now it is a slow and steady walk through one of the most spectacular regions of the world.

Alan Arnette Officially Announces Lhotse Expedition, Shares Gear For Everest

Back in early January, Alan Arnette announced his intention to become just the second American to climb all 14 of the world's 8000 meter peaks. Having already successfully topped out on Everest, Manaslu, and K2, he will now set his sights on the remaining 11 mountains starting with Lhotse this spring. The initiative is part of Alan's ongoing efforts to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer's, an affliction that he has a very personal connection with having lost his mother to the disease a few years back. To date, his efforts have reached more than 50 million people, and he had raised $250,000 for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund. With Project 8000, he hopes to raise those numbers to 100 million and $1 million respectively.

This spring Alan will travel to Nepal where he'll be attempting to summit Lhotse, the 8516 meter (27,940 ft) neighbor to Everest. In fact, the two mountains are so close that they share much of the same route to the top, as mountaineers go up the Lhotse Face before diverting in separate directions. Much of the climb will be very familiar to Alan, who has spent plenty of time on Everest in the past. This should make his climb a bit easier, as he won't be facing a completely new experience while scaling this Himalayan giant.

Alan will depart the U.S. on March 30 and soon there after he'll begin blogging about his adventure both from the trail, and Everest Base Camp. Throughout the spring, we'll be able to get some very candid and personal dispatches from the climb, which should make for a very enjoyable experience for those that follow along. Alan writes with an engaging style that makes it fun to follow his efforts, and I'm sure he'll keep readers posted about any and all developments on the mountain.

Speaking of Everest, we're now just a month away from climbers setting out for Kathmandu, and in the days ahead they will be frantically packing all of their gear and preparing for the challenge ahead. Just what equipment they bring with them is crucial to their comfort on the mountain, and eventual success on a summit bid in late May or early June. With that in mind, Alan has also written a very interesting blog post about the gear that he takes with him on his expeditions. The story includes his selections for warm sleeping bags, boots, gloves, packs, and more. If you've ever wondered about what gear is best for an Everest climb, than you'll certainly want to give this article a read. He also shared the video below, which is a couple of years old, but also gives us some insights into the gear situation for climbing in the Himalaya.

The State of Everest in 2015

With the 2015 spring climbing season in the Himalaya still there months off, there remains a lot of uncertainty surrounding Everest. Following the unprecedented shutdown of the mountain last spring – when an avalanche claimed the lives of 16 Sherpas – politics have played a significant role in governing the future of climbing on the world's tallest peak. This year, commercial teams will return to the mountain, but not without a degree of trepidation as to how the season will unfold.

With this in mind, Alan Arnette has posted another excellent article to his blog that takes a look at the shifting attitudes of climbers and guides heading to Everest this spring. In putting this article together, Alan reached out to some of the top operators on the mountain to gauge their feelings about what to expect in a few months time. Some were very candid in their response, while others spoke off the record. By compiling those responses, Alan is able to give us a glimpse of the season ahead.

I won't spoil the entire article here, as I think it is important that you read it in its entirety. I will point out some of the larger factors that will be impacting the season ahead however. For instance, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty amongst the guides as to how things will unfold this year. So much so, that the Peak Freaks, one of the top operators on the mountain, have decided to cancel their 2015 and 2016 expeditions to Everest. Others have decided to move to the North Side in Tibet, where they'll be out from under the control of the Nepalese government. These include Alpenglow, who will take 8 clients to the Chinese side of the mountain this spring. It should be noted that Himex had intended to guide an expedition from that side as well, but didn't have any clients elect to climb from the North.

The teams climbing from the South will take a new route through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall this year. This will hopefully eliminate some of the danger and cut down on the amount of time spent in that area. The Sherpas that were killed last spring were passing through the icefall when the avalanche occurred, and the hope is that this new route will be safer all around. The teams are also looking at ways to reduce the number of trips required through the icefall as well, potentially using helicopters to help shuttle gear, although the Nepalese government has been reluctant to allow that in the past.

There is some ongoing debate as to whether or not the North Side is safer than the South. Most of the guides that Alan spoke to didn't feel that was the case, but a few did. The prevailing feeling is that there are fewer deaths on that side of the mountain due to the fewer number of climbers. If more teams had to Tibet to climb, the number of fatalities is likely to go up there as well.

Finally, Alan updates readers about the current situation with the canceled climbing permits from 2014. The Nepalese government had originally said that they would honor them for a period of five years, but the entire team would have to return intact, or climbers would lose their ability to use the permit. They have since backpedaled some on that decision, although the final ruling sits with the Cabinet that oversees the country. They have not made a final decision yet, and are considering charging an additional $1000 to each climber to bring the cost of the permits inline with current pricing. Those changes are keeping some of the mountaineers away at the moment while permit issues get sorted out.

As I said, this is a good article that will give you an indication of the current climate that surrounds Everest expeditions. If you're interested in what is happening there, you'll definitely want to check out the full article.

Alan Arnette Announces Project 8000 for Alzheimers

The New Year always brings new opportunities, and yesterday Alan Arnette used the arrival of 2015 to announce a major new endeavor. In a blog post to his website Alan has announced Project 8000 for Alzheimer's which will be his attempt to climb all of the 8000 meter peaks in an effort to raise funds and awareness to combat that debilitating disease.

As you may recall, in the summer of 2014 Alan made the journey to Pakistan to climb K2, the most difficult mountain in the world. He was successful in that attempt, but it took just about every ounce of skill and strength he had at his disposal to reach the top. After completing that incredibly difficult expedition, he began to think about what he had learned on the mountain, and what he wanted to do next. After some time at home, and a bit of reflection, he decided that he wanted to climb all of the 8000 meter peaks, of which he already has three on his resume.

In addition to K2 (8611 m/28,251 ft), Alan has also summited Everest (8848 m/29,029 ft) and Manaslu (8163 m/26,781 ft). That leaves Kangchenjunga (8586 m/28,169 ft), Lhotse (8516 m/27,940 ft), Makalu (8485 m/27,838 ft), Cho Oyu (8201 m/26,906 ft), Dhaulagiri (8167 m/26,795 ft), Nanga Parbat (8126 m/26,660 ft), Annapurna (8091 m/26,545 ft), Gasherbrum I (8080 m/26,444 ft), Broad Peak (8051 m/26,414 ft), Gasherbrum II (8035 m/26,362 ft), and Shishapangma (8027 m/26,335 ft) left to be climbed.

Alan has set an ambitious schedule for himself to complete the remaining 11 mountains over a 5 year period that begins this spring. In a few months time, he'll head back to Nepal to attempt Lhotse, the neighbor of Everest. Those two peaks share much of the same route, so it will be familiar ground for Alan, who has a double summit of Shishapangma and Cho Oyu scheduled for the fall. After that, he hopes to methodically knock off each of the remaining mountains in his effort to become just the second American to climb each of these mountains. At the moment, Ed Viesturs is the only other person from the U.S. to accomplish that feat.

Alan's previous attempts to using mountaineering as a vehicle to raise funds to fight Alzheimer's have proven to be very successful. His K2 climb engaged more than 5 million people, and raised $70,000 in just six weeks time. He'll be tapping into that same experience as he moves forward with Project 8000, which will once again raise funds for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund.

In his blog post, Alan also indicates that he is looking for sponsors to join him on this quest. Climbing these mountains will obviously be an expensive endeavor, but it will also bring a lot of awareness to the organizations and brands that partner with Alan on this endeavor. This is a truly great opportunity to not only be a part of a project that is seeking to end an agonizing disease, but also make climbing history. It will certainly be a highly visible platform for anyone who joins the team.

Expect to hear a lot more about Alan's quest to climb these mountains – and conquer Alzheimer's – in the months ahead. As usual, I'll be posting updates on his progress while he is on his expeditions, the first of which will begin this spring. It should be an amazing experience to follow.

The Cost of Climbing Everest: 2015 Edition

Whenever I discuss an expedition to Mt. Everest with someone who doesn't know much about mountaineering, I find that they are always surprised by two things. First, they have no idea that it takes roughly two months to summit the mountain after you factor in travel time to the Himalaya, getting to Base Camp, acclimatizing to the altitude, and waiting for the proper weather window. They are also continually shocked at how much an Everest climb actually costs, as they don't understand all the logistics involved.

To help all of us understand those costs better, each year, our friend Alan Arnette does a detailed analysis of the current going rates for an Everest climb. Yesterday, he posted the 2015 edition of his annual report, and it wasn't good news for prospective climbers. As Alan indicates in his report, costs have gone up substantially for the spring climbing season, and more companies are jumping across the border into Tibet in order to avoid ongoing strife between the Nepali government and the Sherpas in the wake of last year's shutdown on the South Side.

There are several significant factors that are causing the price of an Everest expedition to go up, including a raise in price for the climbing permit. This year, all climbers will be charged a flat-fee of $11,000 to get their name on a permit. In the past, it was usually about $10,000, with the overall price for the permit spread out across multiple climbers. Alan also says that more teams are increasing the amount of life insurance they are carrying for their Sherpa staff as well, going up from $10k to $15k, with the difference being covered by the clients of course. On top of that, Nepal has begun enforcing a 2012 rule that requires all trekkers and climbers to hire a local Sherpa guide for use during their visit. He estimated that will add an additional $4k to the price.

What does all of this mean for climbers wanting to attempt Everest? Alan says that the average price for a climb without western guides is now at $41,700. With western guides, that price rises to $57,000 on the South Side, and $46,000 on the North. In other words, it is a substantial sum of money no matter which side of the mountain you're climbing, and who you are climbing with. Alan is quick to point out that a few high-end guide services on the North Side are also skewing the average to a degree. Alpenglow and Himex have both jumped to the Chinese side of the mountain for 2015, and they charge $79,000 and $64,000 respectively. Without their numbers added into the mix, a North Side climb averages about $37,000.

But the big story isn't just the change in pricing. Alan says that there are major changes afoot in Nepal, as local operators take over the South Side. These companies have been offering good service for years, and now they have also learned the business side of leading expeditions as well. Many of these companies are now undercutting western guide services, and are attracting more and more clients. Alan warns that not all of these companies offer the same experience however, and that it remains a "buyer beware' environment.

This is just the very beginning of the report, as Alan also goes into the cost breakdown of the climb, examining the details of what you actually get for your money. He also looks at the price for planning your own Everest expedition, as well as the options for hiring guides, the size of teams, summit stats, and much more. Basically, this report contains everything you've ever wanted to know about putting together a climb on Everest, and then some.

If you follow the climate on Everest, much of what is reported here will come as no surprise. Considering the political fallout that came after the South Side was shutdown last spring, the future of expeditions to that side of the mountain remains a bit uncertain. Obviously the mountain is a cash-cow for the government of Nepal, but major disruptions could continue in the future, as disputes with labor still need to be resolved. It is a time of upheaval on Everest, and not all of the past conflicts have been settled just yet.

We still have a little over four months to go before the start of the busy Spring climbing season. It is already shaping up to be another interesting one.

Alan Arnette Posts 2015 Everest Preview

While the fall climbing season in the Himalaya continues to slowly wind down for another year, it is already time to start thinking about the spring climbing season ahead. While the start of that season is still six months away, the prep work and planning is already well underway. With that in mind, Alan Arnette has posted a preview for Everest in 2015, providing readers with valuable insight on how climbing on the world's highest peak will be both different, and the same, next year.

Alan begins his preview first remarking on how the 2014 season unfolded. As I'm sure most of you recall, a massive avalanche on the South Side of the mountain claimed the lives of 19 Sherpas, bring an end to climbing operations on the Nepali side of the mountain. Only a single non-Sherpa climber managed to summit from that side of the mountain this past spring, while on the North Side, about 125 climbers managed to top out. The political fallout from the spring continues to unfold in Nepal, and it will no doubt have long lasting repercussions on the climbing scene there. Exactly what that means for the long-term climbing conditions on Everest remain to be seen, but we already know that the Sherpas are looking for better working conditions, higher compensation, and increased benefits for their families should they die on the mountain. It is clear that the shadow of this past spring season will continue to hang over the mountain in 2015, and for many years to come.

One thing that is changing on Everest next year is the cost of climbing. Alan points out that a number of the larger commercial teams are raising prices – sometimes substantially. For instance, the Peak Freaks have raised their price by 22%, going from $39k to $49k. This is still a relative bargain in terms of Everest climbs, but it is worth noting none the less. RMI made an 11% jump, from $59k to $66k, while Jagged Globe, Altitude Junkies, 7 Summits Club, and IMG all hiked their costs up to a lesser degree as well.

For the most part, the reason for the raising of prices is directly due to an increased cost of doing business in Nepal. As Alan points out, the inflation rate in that country is roughly 9.4%, and that alone will have an impact on a company's bottom line. But, climbing permits have also gone up in price, as has the cost of insurance that most mountaineers get when heading to the mountain. Those factors are all conspiring together to make Everest a more costlier venture then ever before, and the expenses are being passed on to the consumer.

Alan says that the real story however is the rise of cheaper options for climbing the mountain. These are coming in the form of locally-owned guide services that are finding ways to operate on Everest at less expense, most notably by paying workers a cheaper wage. These Nepali-owned and operated companies are offering Everest climbs for $25k-$35k, substantially less than what the foreign-owned companies are charging. A decade ago, 80% of the expeditions on Everest were led by guide companies that operated outside of Nepal. Alan predicts that in five years time, that number will have dropped to just 20%, as Nepali companies take over those operations.

Other interesting nuggets of information to note from Alan's preview is that Himex (aka Himalayan Experience), the large commercial team run by Russell Brice, will return to the North Side of Everest for the first time since 2008. It seems Brice is hedging his bets for 2015, leading teams from both the North and South sides of the mountain. Meanwhile, the Alpenglow team will only operate on the North Side, as owner Adrian Ballinger says that no "credible" operator would continue to risk the icefall on the South Side.

These are just a few of the things that Alan touches on in his Everest 2015 preview. He also discusses the increased dangers of climbing on the South Side, particularly in and around the Khumbu Icefall. He mentions how unpredictable the weather can be, and how politics are continuing to play a role on how the season develops.

Overall, there is a lot to consider, even months before anyone heads to Kathmandu. With all of that said however, Alan also points out that most of the commercial teams are filling up fast, as climbers who were unable to make a true attempt last year are returning in droves, even as new mountaineers plan their expeditions as well. One thing is for certain, things are never dull when it comes to Everest, and I'm sure 2015 will be no different.

Must Read For Mountaineering Fans: Alan Arnette Shares K2 Summit Recap

If you still haven't gotten your fill of news from K2 this summer, I've got one more great story for you to read. Our friend, Alan Arnette, has posted a very personal account of his summit push on the Savage Mountain, sharing some incredible insights into the physical and mental challenges he had to overcome to reach the top of the toughest mountain on the planet. To do so, he had to battle back his own fears and insecurities, and overcome a case of High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, a condition that can prove fatal if a climber doesn't descend in a timely fashion.

If you followed Allan's expedition, you probably read his dispatches about his travels to Pakistan, the journey to Skardu and Askole, before beginning the trek to Base Camp, and his acclimatization process on the mountain. You've probably even read his pre- and post-summit updates, which shared a bit about his preparation, conditioning, and mental state on the climb. Following his successful summit, Alan even touched on the challenges he faced on the way up, and back down. But those dispatches only hinted at the hurdles that he had to overcome along the way. This report takes us through the very long, and grueling, battle he had with K2 – and more importantly, himself – when he pressed toward the summit back on July 27.

Alan talks about the deep, and overwhelming, fatigue that set in as he climbed above Camp 4, approaching 25,500 feet (7772 meters). It was at that point that he was ready to just stop, sit down, and stay right where he was, not caring to move forward or back. It was a crucial moment of the climb. He felt like he was dying, and there wasn't any energy left to fight on.

But then he remembered why he was there. Climbing to raise funds and awareness for the fight against Alzheimer's, he drew strength from the thought of all the people who were supporting him, and those who suffered from that terrible disease. And at that moment, he found a new source of energy that helped to propel him forward. It wouldn't be easy, but he had to finish the ascent.

As I said, this is a very personal account of Alan's climb, and what I've written about in this post is just the beginning, and one small part of what he shares. It is a lengthy read, but also very inspiring. It is also a great account of high altitude mountaineering on a peak that remains incredibly demanding and dangerous, even when conditions are at there very best.

The title of this post says it all. If you're a mountaineer, either actual or armchair, you need to read this story. It will give you a new found respect for the climbers who topped out on K2 this summer, and the challenges that they faced along the way. Read it in its entirety here.

Pakistan 2014: Final Thoughts on K2

The climbing season in the Karakoram of Pakistan has come and gone, and by now we should be starting to look ahead to the fall climbing season in the Himalaya. But this year's historic performance on K2 is one that is worth reflecting on, and there is still much that can be learned from the climbers who spent weeks on the mountain. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on climbing the "Savage Mountain" directly from some of the climbers who were there.

ExWeb has posted an interview with Adrian Hayes in which he shares his thoughts on his successful summit of K2. Adrian was a part of the first summit push, which topped out on July 26. He notes that that round of summiteers were fortunate that the weather was so good, because they often had to wait for extended periods of time for the fixed ropes to be installed. Adrian remarks that if the temperature were a few degrees colder, or the winds were a bit stronger, that not all of the 32 people who summited that day would have been successful.

When asked if K2 has been "tamed," Adrian has a direct and pointed answer. He says that "K2 will never be tamed," and he points to the lack of summit success from the Pakistan side of the mountain from 2009 - 2011, and again in 2013, as an example. This year was an aberration. It had the best weather that has possibly ever been seen on K2, and as a result, the level of success was also unprecedented.

Adrian goes on to discuss how he managed his fear while climbing such a difficult mountain, his thoughts on approaching Camp 3, where friends Marty and Denali Schmidt passed away in 2013, his thoughts on strategies for climbing the mountain (hint: get there early, bring strong Sherpas), and much more. Since he was on K2 in 2013, when no one was able to summit, Adrian has some good thoughts on comparing the two very different seasons.

He wasn't the only one sharing his insights on the 2014 K2 season. Alan Arnette has also posted an article to his website that includes some broad thoughts on his climb as well. He touches on some of the logistics of the climb, discussing the organization of his team, which was led by Garret Madison of Madison Mountaineering. Alan indicated that while it may have appeared that the team was using the usual "siege" tactics that are common in the Himalaya, they were actually a small, focused squad that almost went in alpine style instead. The Sherpas led the way of course, doing much of the shuttling of gear to high camp, but the rest of the team was well prepared, and climbed well together too.

Alan also touches on the almost unbelievably good weather, his own preparation for the climb, and the incredible Sherpa support the team had. He also mentions that while he was more than physically prepared for the challenges of K2, it was the mental challenges that he truly had to prepare for. Since summiting Everest a few years back, Alan has worked on improving his mental toughness, and it paid off for him in the Karakoram this summer. When he needed to dig deep, and push on to the top, he found reserves that he didn't even know he had. As a result, he was able to summit the toughest mountain on the planet.

Alan's post contains a lot of insights on his personal experience on K2, but the comments section has become an ongoing Q&A session as well. Readers have been posting their questions about the climb, and Alan has been personally answering each of them. Those questions have been far reaching, and they will help anyone to further understand what goes into a climb of this type. The article, and the comments that follow, are a great resource of information on climbing K2 specifically, and 8000 meter peaks in general.

Finally, Chris Jansen Burke became the first Australian woman to summit K2 when she topped out on July 26 as well. She shared her personal story in a two part recap of the season as well. Part 1 can be found here, while the second part is here. Initially, Chris traveled to Pakistan to attempt Broad Peak, which was to serve as an acclimatization climb before heading over to the real prize – K2. She did indeed acclimatize on BP, but the summit remained elusive, so after spending several weeks on that mountain, she jumped over to K2 Base Camp to take advantage of the weather window that was predicted to open there. Her lengthy, detailed account of the climb is a good read, with lots of personal insights as well. Chris is a strong climber, with lots of experience on 8000 meter peaks, so her thoughts are always interesting to read.

In addition to her personal account of the climb, she has also posted a brief Q&A blog post in which she answers some of the more common questions that have come her way post-climb. She talks about how having more teams on the mountain helped to make it a more successful season, who was responsible for fixing the ropes at each phase of the climb, whether or not she ever thought about turning back on summit day, and much, much more. Again, it is a very insightful post, with great information on K2, and Chris' personal experience on the mountain.

That about wraps it up for the K2 coverage this season. I'm not sure how much more there is to say about. It has been several weeks since the successful summit push, and most of the climbers have shared their thoughts on what a great year it was on the mountain. Soon, the mountaineering world will turn its attention on the fall Himalayan climbing season, and our focus will shift elsewhere. But 2014 will be seen as a historic year on K2, when conditions were just right for success. Whether or not that same level of success can be replicated in the future remains to be seen. But for this one year, K2 was very welcoming indeed.

K2 Is Not The 'Next Everest'

Now that the summer climbing season is over in Pakistan, and the teams have packed up all of their belongings and headed home, there has been some time to assess the level of success that was seen in the Himalaya and Karakoram over the past few weeks. While it was a typical year throughout much of the region, teamss on K2 found unprecedented success, with as many as 40 climbers reaching the summit. This has led to some discussion in the mountaineering community that K2 has now gone the way of Everest, and will soon be crowded with commercial teams looking to make a profit by leading rich clients to the top. I've even seen a well known blog ask if K2 had been "tamed" at long last. While it is true that K2 saw more successful summits than in any single season in the past, it was due to the perfect alignment of weather more than anything else. And if you want to know if the "Savage Mountain" has been tamed, just ask the climbers who were there. They'll tell you that K2 is still amongst the toughest climbs on the planet, and incredibly dangerous even in the best of conditions.

The key element that allowed so many climbers to top out this spring was a prolonged patch of relatively good weather that brought warmer temperatures, low winds, and less precipitation. While that alone is not uncommon on K2, the summit window stayed open for nearly a week, giving climbers ample opportunity to reach the top while conditions were good. Often times in the past, those window would only be open for a a day or two, giving teams a very narrow opportunity to summit.

That isn't to say that conditions were completely safe this season either. Alan Arnette has posted some thoughts on the climb now that he has returned to Skardu, and he says that the first wave of summiteers – the group that went up July 26 – all faced the real threat of severe frostbite, as they had to wait for the fixed lines to be installed to the summit. Some of the men and women in that group could have lost fingers or toes, something that Alan says has been underreported thus far. While I have heard of anyone struggling with frostbite, there may be a few climbers out there who will still lose a few digits thanks to their K2 ambitions this season. And that can occur, even when the weather is nearly perfect.

But that's just a sliver of what Alan has to share. He also talks about just how physically and mentally demanding K2 is in the best of conditions as well. On his very popular climbing blog, Alan follows the Everest climbing season like no one else, and he knows what it takes to climb that mountain, having reached the summit there as well. He says that K2 is an entirely different challenge that mixes technical climbing, over a variety of surfaces, at extreme altitude. Throw in the incredibly unpredictable weather, frequent avalanches, and a variety of other obstacle, and K2 is simply too difficult for the vast majority of Everest climbers to consider.

Arnette isn't the only one who thinks this way. Adrian Hayes, who summited amongst the first group last week, has his own thoughts on this topic as well. He was the climber who was asked by Explorers Web if the mountain has been tamed. His response, which is part of a larger interview that is still forthcoming, is as follows:
"The stunning successes have been down to an unprecedented fantastic weather window and snow conditions. It's a good question. Top ask, but it's a damn hard and technical mountain and with some wind, lower temperatures or normal snow conditions, we would never have got half the 35 who summitted Saturday [July 26] up, if at all…"
I guess it should be expected that some in the mountaineering community would question whether or not K2 has somehow gotten easier after 40 people manage to reach its summit. There are some that want to see it remain the "Mountaineer's Mountain," which boasts a death rate of 25%. Personally, I don't think K2 is in any danger of losing that title at the moment, it is just due to some unique circumstances that so many climbers were able to top out. There were similar circumstances in 2012 that allowed a large group to summit then as well, but last year there were no successful summits at all. And following the tragedy of 2008, during which 11 people lost their lives, it took three seasons before anyone reached the top again.

So while we will probably continue to hear some people proclaiming that K2 has been "tamed," it is important to keep in perspective the level of success obtained this season. It has certainly been one for the record books, and every climber should be proud of what they have accomplished. But if you were to ask them all directly whether or not K2 has somehow gotten easier, I'd be willing to bet that all of them would tell you that they were fortunate to be climbing during this unique season, and that K2 will remain the Savage Mountain for the foreseeable future.

Pakistan 2014: Death on K2, Rescue on Broad Peak

It continues to be a very busy week in Pakistan, where a number of teams are packing up, and preparing to head home following the unprecedented success on K2 this past weekend. As of now, it seems that 35 climbers reached the summit of the "Mountaineer's Mountain" during a weather window that seems to only come along once every few years. But there is sad news from the Karakoram today, as the mountain has also claimed the life of one climber, bringing a bit of a dark cloud to the celebration that is still taking place there.

Details on the death are just now starting to come in, but Italian climber Tamara Lunger updated her blog to report that Spanish climber Miguel Angel Perez Alnarez has perished in Camp 4 on K2. She says that Miguel, who has 10 8000-meter peaks on his resume, left Base Camp on his own on Sunday, and reached the summit amidst good weather. But he was very slow on his descent, and was forced to bivouac above 8000 meters (26,246 feet) without a tent. Yesterday, the Spaniard was able to descend to Camp 4, but he died there last night.

This news has no doubt sent a shockwave through K2 Base Camp, where the teams were still enjoying their success the past few days. K2 has a reputation for being the "Savage Mountain," in part because one out of every four climbers who reaches the summit, dies on the way back down. That has not been the case this year of course, but the loss of Miguel is a stark reminder of the dangers that climbers face on that mountain.

My condolences to the friends and family of the fallen climber.

Meanwhile, over on Broad Peak, there is news that the Polish team climbing there have saved the life of a Taiwanese climber who was stranded, and dying in Camp 4. The details on the rescue are a bit fuzzy at the moment, but it seems that he or she was left alone in C4, where the Poles discovered the unnamed climber who was asking for help. The Polish team then called for assistance from other members of the team in Camp 3, and assisted in getting the Taiwanese climber down the mountain. Hopefully the stranded climber is receiving the medical attention they need, and are on the road to recovery. I'm sure we'll hear more about this story in the days ahead as well.

Finally, while we're still sifting through all of the successful summits on K2, and across the Karakoram, this past week, there was at least one record set. When our friend Alan Arnette reached the summit of K2 on Sunday morning, he became the oldest person to ever achieve that feat. Alan is 58 years old, and while he took up mountaineering later in life, he has certainly made the most of his time in the mountains. He is also an inspiration to all of us.

Pakistan 2014: Historic Weekend on K2

It was a very busy, and successful, weekend on the world's toughest mountain. As predicted, a good weather window stayed open through yesterday, allowing numerous teams to reach the summit of the mountain on both days, and it doesn't seem that that window has closed just yet, as other climbers are still on the move.

Yesterday, a team of international climbers that included Alan Arnette topped out on schedule. The team set out from Camp 4 at 10:40 PM Saturday evening, and reached the summit around 5:45 AM on Sunday morning. Joining Alan on the top of K2 were Matthew Dupuy, Garrett Madison, Kami Rita Sherpa, Fur Kancha Sherpa, and Kami Tshering Sherpa. There hasn't been a dispatch following the news of the successful summit, although I would expect one soon. Alan did follow up on Twitter however, simply saying "K2 summit unbelievable hard."

Alan did release an audio dispatch while he was on the summit, and you can tell from the sound of his voice that it was an incredibly moving and personal moment for him to reach the top. He has been using his various mountaineering expeditions over the past few years to raise money for the Cure Alzheimer's Fund – a cause that is very near, and dear, to his heart – and this climb was a culmination of all of those efforts. I expect that we'll get another dispatch from Alan soon that will share the details of his climb.

Meanwhile, a host of other climbers also reached the top on Saturday, including Adrian Hayes and Al Hancock. In an audio dispatch, Al noted that it was a 15 hour roundtrip for the climbers who summited on Saturday, with most of them all topping out within a short time with one another. Adrian and Al are already back in BC, and it sounds like the descent was just as challenging as the climb. But, it seems that climbers are getting up down the mountain safely this season, which isn't always the case on K2.

Also reaching the summit of K2 was Chris Jensen Burke, who now has some decisions to be made about what her next move is. You may recall that she, along with Lakpa Sherpa, acclimatized on Broad Peak before moving over to K2 for the summit bid. While on BP, the conditions were not right for a summit, so they never topped out on that mountain. Chris and Lakpa are now discussing returning to Broad Peak to have a go at the summit there. Since they left, rope fixing has been completed, several teams have topped out, and things are much more settled there. If they have the energy, I would assume that they'll head back to give it another go.

ExWeb has posted a complete list of K2 summiteers as we know them so far. The names of all the mountaineers who topped out this weekend are still coming in, but in addition to those mentioned above, the following climbers also reached the summit this weekend:

  • Tamara Lunger (Italy)
  • Nikolaus Gruber (Italy)
  • Radek Jaros (Czech)
  • Travnicek Jan (Czech)
  • Hassan Jan (Pakistan)
  • Ali Durani (Pakistan)
  • Rahmat Ullah Baig (Pakistan)
  • Ghulam Mehdi (Pakistan)
  • Ali (Pakistan)
  • Muhammad Sadiq (Pakistan)
  • Michele Cucchi (Italy)
  • Dawa Yangzum Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Pasang Lhamu Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Maya Sherpa (Nepal)
  • Giuseppe Pompili (Italy)
  • Amin Baig (Pakistan)
  • Ferran Latorre (Spain)
  • Tsering Sherpa(Nepal)
All told, there were 28 confirmed summits so far, but that number is expected to go up. When everything is confirmed, there is a chance that this will go down as the most successful couple of days on K2 ever. 

As mentioned however, the season isn't over just yet. ExWeb is also reporting that the Polish squad training for a potential winter K2 expedition will have a go at the summit this week, and will set off from BC today. Joining them on the mountain will be Bulgarian Boyan Petrov who already topped out on Broad Peak a few days back. If all goes according to plan, this third wave of climbers hope to summit on Friday, August 1. Stay tuned for updates on their progress.

I want to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone who reached the summit this weekend. Climbing K2 is no small feat, and they should all be proud of their accomplishments. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the various expeditions in the days ahead.