Chances for K2 expeditions lowered by hurricane-strong winds, says ACP | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Chances for K2 expeditions lowered by hurricane-strong winds, says ACP

Pakistan Press Foundation

ISLAMABAD: With hurricane-strong winds pounding K2 for the last four days, chances for expeditions to summit the second-highest mountain in the world have fallen, the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) said on Sunday.

“The forecast says the weather after Sunday will turn for the worst and the previously expected conditions of clearer skies below 7,000 metres have been overruled,” ACP Secretary Karrar Haidri said.

The ACP said that in the last four days, gales were predicted to reach up to 200 kilometres per hour at the summit, and up to 80km per hour at base camp, accompanied by possible snowfall.

Mr Haidri said that despite the deteriorating weather, some expedition members from Alex Txikon’s team have reached advanced base camp after climbing in still-tough conditions.

Some members of the Russian-Kazakh-Kyrgyz team are also headed for advanced base camp, pitched at 5,290 metres, he said in an update.

Both expeditions on the 8,611 metre peak will be forced to either change their strategy for the summit or risk a storm while at the higher camps, as climbers attempt to make the first ever winter ascent on K2.

Nonetheless, the ACP has been sceptical of the success of the expedition on K2 this winter, saying the winter is closing in the Karakoram Range on March 1.

“In fact, some veteran climbers have reason to believe the climbers have no chance at all of success on K2 this season. The climbers still do not have a well-prepared route and time is running out on them,” he said.

K2 is the only peak above 8,000 metres left that has never been summited in the winter. The ACP said the two-member expedition on Nanga Parbat has not had better luck either; Daniel Nardi and Tom Ballard were left on the peak after two of their expedition members decided to abandon their attempt after continuous bad weather and snowfall.

Karim Hayat, who was one of the expedition members who quit on Nanga Parbat this winter, has given the expedition a 30pc chance of success.