Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner has given an interview just before she sets off for K2 on Wednesday. She said that a load of her luggage has already left. She is feeling calm about what lays ahead.
Her husband Ralf first suggested that they might try the Chinese side. They have been having ongoing discussions about it.
In comparison to the ridges on the Pakistan side of K2, she said that the North Ridge was steeper than them. This would mean that they would be physically more demanding.
First her and Ralf fly to Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. Then they take a 2 day bus trip to Kashgar. They will need camels to help cross the rivers on the way and to carry their gear.
But there were positives for choosing the North Ridge, she believes. The North side of the mountain will receive less sunshine than the Pakistan side. On the Pakistan side, heat has been a problem causing avalanches and dangerous rock fall. This maybe minimized on the North Ridge she thinks. Also by going to this route then she avoids the dangerous bottleneck.
They have a permit for K2 on the Chinese side until early September. At first they will have to acclimatize, so this will take some time. Also, she says, they will have to study the route carefully. There is not as much detail about it as on the Pakistan standard routes. Then there is the weather factor which is unpredictable. But she will have a Swiss meteorologist to help her climb.
Even if they make the summit relatively early they might have to wait towards to the end of summer to make a return. The rivers that they cross will be at their peak in the middle of summer. Melting from the glaciers will swell them and may make them unpassable at times.
She has been training for this expedition quite heavily with an emphasis on long endurance. She has been skiing, running, mountain biking, and climbing to prepare herself.
Source: Badische Zeitung (translated)