Torok Zsolt has been part of the 2010 EU/ US K2 expedition and has given his thoughts and observations on the summit bid of Christian Stangl. He was climbing on the same route taken when Stangl was making his summit ascent and descent.
Some of these details are much the same as was reported from Kazakhstan climber Maxut Zhumayev on Kazpatriot. But they will be presented because they are all important in determining whether Christian Stangl did make the summit of K2. Also they are first hand from someone climbing the same route though later than Stangl. That he left later than Stangl would give him and others a chance to see whether anyone else had in fact been climbing up the Abruzzi Spur.
The first hand evidence
- Zsolt said that Stangl did not sleep in the advanced camp near the Abruzzi Spur. George Dijmarescu was at this base camp and did not report seeing him. It may have been expected that a climber going up this route would sleep there for the night to start their climb
- Stangl could not have travelled the Cesen route according to Zsolt. The Kazakh climbers would have noticed him climbing up. That leaves only the Abruzzi Spur that he could have climbed up.
- No one had climbed to camp 1 on the Abruzzi Spur. Zsolt said that when he and other arrived that there was no evidence that anyone had been there.
- Zsolt says that it is impossible that Stangl climbed to camp 2 on the Abruzzi Spur. The House Chimney is below camp 2 and everything was covered in ice: the ropes and everything was covered in ice.
- There was no evidence when they got to camp 2 above the House Chimney that anyone had been there before. The sherpas informed him that there were no footprints or any other evidence besides their own that someone had been there recently. It was not possible that anyone else had been there.
- Stangl’s climbing axe was still in his tent at camp 3. Stangl’s tent and equipment were where they were before and unused. The tent was not setup so it would be destroyed by the wind. Stangl was not at this camp nor had touched any of his equipment.
- Four people tried to reach camp 4 on the shoulder of K2 and were unable to. The weather prevented them. But they were also going through waist deep snow. This showed the difficulty Stangl would have had getting to camp 4. Once again there was no evidence that Stangl had been that far on this route.
- Stangl claimed to have climbed to camp 3 and then the next day made the summit at 10am.Then he climbed down all day till he rested on a rocky alcove at midnight. Zsolt just doesn’t believe this was possible considering the tough conditions.
- Zsolt asks how did Stangl climb the bottleneck then go across the traverse safely without a rope? Stangl was travelling lightly so a rope would not have been used on this section. Also since his ice axe was left at camp 3, did he in fact have an ice axe?
- That Stangl claims to have descended between the Abruzzi Spur and the Cesen Route just are not credible to Zsolt. It would be a new route on K2.
- Stangl arrived back at base camp at 6am. The cook was there and wanted to see a picture of the summit. But Stangl said that he was tired and did not show him the picture.
- Stangl left base camp in a hurry. After only an hour after arriving back then he made his exit after packing all of his gear.
- That Stangl made such an abrupt exit out of base camp says a lot, Zsolt believes.
- The Pakistan porters found Stangl’s bivouac gear a distance away from the advanced camp for the Abruzzi Spur a few days later. It had been hidden under rocks. With it were a tent, poles, a 370 page book written by an Austrian climber, and sleeping bag.
What he thinks Stangl really did over those 2 days
What Zsolt thinks that Stangl really did for those 2 days is the following. He left base camp without anyone knowing, with his bivouac gear that was to be found days later after hidden by rocks. He set up his tent on the lower slopes of K2 somewhere where no one would know where he was. He then read the book about a Persian family for 2 days. And then 2 days later he came back into base camp at 6am and claimed to have made the summit of K2. Then he shortly left thereafter. He left so he would not have to face the scrutiny of others.
The dishonor such fakery brings
Zsolt believes that what Christian Stangl has done is to dishonor all of those lives that have been lost on K2. They had been trying to make the summit and it claimed their lives. By faking a summit of K2 Stangl has been dishonorable to them. It was against the spirit of mountaineering to do what Stangl did, he believes.