By: randosteve|Posted on: August 4, 2008|Posted in: Guest Posts, People | 2 comments

The K2 Bottleneck
Dotted lines indicate the route through “The Bottleneck” on K2.
Photo courtesy of

For those unaware, a tragic event is unfolding high on K2 (aka, Chogori, The Savage Mountain), of the Karakorum in Pakistan and the second highest peak in the world. Some reports say at least 11 people have died resulting from a serac fall directly above the location of the fixed lines in the Bottleneck section of the Abruzzi Spur Route. This number seems to be in question by other media resources. Tune into, which seems to be handling the flow of information from up on the mountain. The accident left a group of climbers stranded above some technical terrain and in the “Death Zone” (above 8000m/26,250′ where there is not enough oxygen to support human life). Obviously, we send our best of luck to all those involved in the rescue.

Interestingly enough, we were talking about the event in the shop yesterday, when legendary mountaineer and videographer, David Breshears walks in. No joke. David Breshears has scaled and filmed on numerous peaks through out the world and is noted as being one of the climbers involved with the 1996, “Into Thin Air” event on Everest, in which eight people lost their lives. It was interesting to hear his take on what’s going on on K2 right now.

Have you ever seen The Bottleneck on K2?

Randosteve-Well, ummm, not in person David.

Well…it’s about a 50-55 slope that sits beneath a huge serac. The route goes right up below the serac and then traverses to the left where you finally exit from below it and reach the slopes higher up. The serac is very shiny and glazed, which often indicates strength. If the fixed lines got buried, all one would have to do is turn into the mountain and downclimb. ..which could be more tricky if the slope had been scoured…exposing rockhard ice. It must be really ugly up there.

David Breshears

Facts on K2

  • The name K2 comes from the letter K, representing the Karakorum Range, and “2” because it was the second peak listed by British surveyor T.G.Montgomerie.
  • The nick name Savage Mountain comes from it’s notoriously hard weather. On the first attempt to scale the peak in 1902, only 8 out of 68 days were clear.
  • In 1953 American Pete Schoening arrested a fice man fall by plunging his ice axe behind a boulder.
  • Thirteen climbers died in one storm on the mountain in 1986.
  • Of the 5 women who have summited K2, 3 died on the descent. The others died on other 8000M peaks.