Dave Watson skis in front of K2. Photo courtesy AndySelters.com.
Over the past few years, people have been trying to be the first to ski K2. Unfortunately, without much success. Two of the bigger names or people who seem to be really focused on the peak are Fredrik Erikson (Sweden/Chamonix) and Dave Watson (USA, Minnesota), who have tried to ski K2 both this year and last year.
While neither of them has had success, both have experienced tragic events that seem to happen ever so frequently on the savage mountain, This year, Fredrik’s partner Michele Fait (Italy) slipped while skiing and fell to his death while descending from Camp 2. Understandably not wanting to continue, Fredrik aborted his attempt and went home.
Climbers traversing the Bottleneck on August 4, 2009. Photo courtesy of EverestNews.com.
For Dave Watson, his tragic experience occurred on K2 last year when he arrived at basecamp, only to respond to an accident involving serac fall in the Bottleneck section, which killed 11 people high on the mountain. He waited around for 4 more weeks for the weather conditions to improve (the only ones left in basecamp), which never happened. This year, Dave recently gave K2 another shot, but deep snow slowed the teams down on summit day, keeping K2 void of any ski tracks from it’s summit for yet another season.
Fredrik Ericsson skiing on K2.
So…the question remains, will someone ever ski K2? Sure sounds like the chances are pretty slim for a skier to get the combined conditions of…a) just being able to reach the summit…and b) have the snow conditions good enough so they can actually claim a valid descent. Either way, it sure is exciting to follow along on the expeditions while they are happening and I think in due time, K2 will get skied. And to whomever succeeds, more power to them because it most likely won’t happen on their first try and with a fatality rate of over 25% on K2, they will also be gambling with their life.