More details have emerged about how Fredrik Ericsson died. His father allowed the details of what happened to be made public. Ralf Dujmovitz, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner’s husband, has updated her website to give more details on how the tragedy unfolded.
The day started with only 3 of the climbers on the shoulder making an attempt to summit K2 that day. These were: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Fredrik Ericsson and Trey Cook. The others stayed in their tents because from 11pm there had been difficult weather outside and they chose not to summit at that time. There were strong winds and poor visibility that led them to this decision.
At 7am they reached the bottleneck. This is a narrow technically challenging area that is also quite steep. Cook had by this time decided to turn back.
It was at 8:10am where tragedy struck. Fredrick Ericsson fell on one of the most technically challenging areas of the last days climb. He was apparently trying to secure a rock hook onto rocks to the side of him when he slipped and fell.
To a shocked Kaltenbrunner he fell right past her. When this happened she climbed to where he fell and looked over the edge to see what happened to him. The visibility from her angle was poor but she knew that he had fallen a long way and probably would not survive. Her visibility was also further reduced because of the whiteout conditions. She could see one of his skis but nothing else.
Immediately she turned around and managed to scramble down the bottleneck, no doubt in shock from it. Two climbers in camp 4 on the shoulder, Fabrizio Zangrilli and Darek Zaluski, came out of their tents and climbed up to meet Kaltenbrunner. They have since joined her on the way back down the mountain.
Ericsson fell quite a significant way. There was a Russian climber Yura Ermachek going down from the shoulder at camp 4 to camp 3 who recognized the lifeless body and backpack of Fredrik Ericsson. The body was about 400m to the side and above camp 3. Yura wanted to go over to the Ericsson but he assessed the avalanche danger was too great.
His father did not want others taking a risk to collect his body and bury it. Thus it is still where it came to rest several hundred meters from camp 3 on the Cesen route.
Ralf Dujmovitz said that Fredrik Ericsson was a much liked individual whose enthusiasm for climbing was infectious.
Also Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner is still coming down K2. She is presently at camp 2. The difficult conditions have slowed her progress down the mountain. There has been loose terrain, significant rockfall and poor weather.
Source: Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner