In an earlier article this month we announced that the climbing season on Pakistan’s K2 had officially begun. We also noted that many of the routes planned for this season were dangerous. Tragically, that has proven true as Canadian climber Serge Dessureault has died in a fall.
K2, sometimes called the “savage mountain,” has taken the lives of many climbers over the years and Dessureault’s is the latest. He was climbing with two other Canadians when the fall occurred. The exact details of what happened are still unclear, as Dessureault was apparently by himself on a descent back to a base camp. Other climbers believe that he was either rappelling down the Black Pyramid face of the mountain or just below the House’s Chimney when he fell.
The weather on K2 right now is so harsh that it will likely be a while before Dessureault’s body can be taken to Islamabad and flown back to his family in Quebec. For now, his remains have been taken to the Advanced Base Camp.
Serge Dessureault was 53 years old. When not climbing mountains, he was a 30-year veteran firefighter in Montreal. He was the leader of the 3-person Quebec K2 team and has previously summited Mount Everest. The other two members of Dessureault’s team have canceled the remainder of their K2 climb.
Exact causes of the fall are still unknown, but some speculation has turned to the old ropes that are left on the mountain, season after season. Old ropes will rot and weaken when exposed to the kind of harsh weather and UV rays that K2 gets, especially in the Black Pyramid, where Dessureault may have fallen. Climbers are encouraged to only use ropes that have been fixed during this season to ensure their safety.
Soon after Dessureault’s tragic death, the weather took a change for the better on K2 and many climbers were able to make some considerable headway. Several teams are on pace to make a summit push sometime after July 20th, with the weather having the final say on just how fast they’ll move.
Despite the continued efforts and potential success this season, the remaining climbers on K2 have all expressed their condolences to the remaining Quebec team and Serge Dessureault’s family.