K2 is considered by most serious climbers throughout the world to be the most difficult mountain to conquer in the world. While Everest is the most popular summit in the word, K2 remains at the top of the bucket list for the majority of the climbing community.
We’ve officially reached the climbing season for the 28,251 foot “savage mountain.” So what’s in store for this year’s season on K2? Here’s a look at some of the notable projects.
First off, K2 is one of 5 peaks in Pakistan that are over 26,200 feet. If you count the other four peaks along with K2, about 150 climbers have received permits to climb this summer. Currently, a team from Japan, led by veteran climber Akira Oyabe, is fixing ropes on K2 for the season’s summit attempts. This marks the 3rd attempt for Oyabe in the last 10 years—heavy winds shut a similar project down in 2009 and snowfall stopped his attempt in 2013. Another very interesting endeavor will be conducted by Andrzej Bargiel, a polish skier who will attempt to ski from the summit of K2.
It’s important to remember just how dangerous climbing K2 really is. There are nine named routes on K2 but the Abruzzi Spur sees most of the action (about 75% of all summit attempts). However, K2 is infamous for harsh conditions, and there have been many years where no summits were achieved. In fact, in a 20-year span from 1986 to 2016, there were 12 years with no successful summits.
At 26,660 feet, Nanga Parbat is located 150 miles from K2, and permits have been issued to 114 climbers this season. They may be in for some disheartening news, though. Swiss adventurer Mike Horn has already bailed on his summit attempt at Nanga, stating that the snow conditions were simply too perilous to go any further. Only time will tell if conditions improve later in the season.
The Gasherbrum Range will also see plenty of summit attempts this season, with climbers from all over the world making attempts on many of the named routes.
Perhaps the most notable project in the K2 region this year is the solo attempt by Austrian climber Hansjörg Auer. He’ll be attempting to summit the West Face of Lupghar Sar West on his own, a 23,559-foot endeavor.
We should see most of the summit attempts occur during the last week of July through the beginning of August, as the climbing season ends by mid-August.