The most important period of climbing on K2 will likely occur within the next few weeks. Now that August is just around the corner, all expeditions will have high expectations that they can reach the summit of K2. So far expeditions have been battling the weather and the finding the routes difficult. But their hard work may pay off come August provided the weather allows them.
Up to this point there have been no serious attempt on the summit. All that there has been is slowly grinding their way higher and setting up camps. They will be hoping conditions suit them in August at some point.
North Ridge Expedition
The North Ridge Expedition have made it to where they will place camp 3. This is at about 7250m( according to Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner). The camp has not been established though. Nor has anyone stayed at this height. However, they have laid rope and have a camp 2 at 6600m.
Their plans are to establish camp 3 and camp 4 on the next time they are climbing the mountain. And then make an assault on the summit when conditions allow.
The expedition consists of: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Ralf Dujmovits, Tommy Heinrich, Darius Zaluski, Maxut Zumayev and Vassiliy Pivtsov.
Kinga Baranowska, Fabrizio Zangrilli
They reached at least 6850m on the Cesen route. The last time they went up K2 it was with Gerfried Goeschl and Bruno Buchet. Like others on this route they have found the snow to be deep and the going slow.
Bruno Buchet and Christian Stangl
With little publicity these 2 were climbing together on the Abruzzi Ridge. They gave up after finding the route too difficult this year. Since then Buchet has said that he switched to the Cesen route. He made it to about 7000m and setup a tent. He said that he climbed with Kinga Baranowska, Fabrizio Zangrilli and Gerfried Goeschl. Stangl may be amongst them also on the latest climb.
Gerfried Goeschl, Alex Txikon, Nasir and Kilian Volken
Goeschl arrived the earliest of the four climbers. He went as high as 6850m. Alex Txikon and Kilian Volken were expected to have joined him on the 27th July. Txikon though has been waiting at Gasherbrum 2 base camp for the porters to arrive so that his gear goes to K2 base camp. He has already climbed Gasherbrum 1 and 2. Adding K2 to this would be an amazing effort.
Kilian Volken has just made the summit of Gasherbrum 2 also. Nasir will also be joining them to make it 4 climbers in the expedition. Kilian had wanted initially to climb with Nasir on the Abruzzi Ridge. Both Goeschl and Txikon are committed to the Cesen route. They will reconsider this when they arrive at K2 base camp.
Field Touring Alpine
After the death of a climber, Jeff, on Broad Peak, it was uncertain if they would continue onto K2. However, Rob Springer has arrived at K2 base camp. Already ropes and camps have been setup by the support climbers for the company. They will be climbing on the Cesen route. Sophie Denis had planned on climbing K2 also. She just recently made the summit of Broad Peak. There is nothing yet on her website to indicate if she still is.
Field Touring Alpine
Routes being used
There are only 2 routes currently being used on K2. These are the North Ridge and the Cesen route. The Abruzzi Ridge was found to be too dangerous. Rockfall has been significant. But Kilian Volken and Nasir will consider climbing this route when they arrive at K2 base camp.
This will be the most important factor for the climbers. They will be relying on their own specialized forecasts to know when best to start up K2. What they will be looking to is a period of several or more days where there is a so called weather window. They will want the winds to be relatively calm on summit day and visibility to be good.
Mountain Forecast says that on the 30th July till Monday afternoon there is not expected to be snow. Winds are expected to be moderate. However, on Monday night there is expected to be snow and on Tuesday too. The winds will decrease on Tuesday.
Source: Mountain Forecast
The Taiwanese expedition on Broad Peak mentioned that there could be a weather window from the 3rd August till the 6th for that mountain.