I’ve got my eye on a couple of ski expeditions that are about to get started in the Himalaya right now. One is an attempt on Broad Peak (8051M) by Benedikt Boehm and Pete Swenson, and the other is Fredrik Ericsson’s attempt on K2. Both of these expeditions are return trips/attempts for some of the participants and both hope to set some sort of “first’ on the mountains.
Footage from Benedikt and Basti's trip to Broad Peak in 2009.
This will be Benedikt Böhm's second trip to Broad Peak, having traveled to the mountain last year for a speed ascent attempt. While the team did make it to the sub-summit of Broad Peak (it was too late in the day and dangerous to go for the main summit), his partner Basti Haag became sick and the rest of the day was focused on getting him back to camp 3, where they spent the night. Haag improved on the descent the following day. Böhm has generally considered that expedition a success, but you've got to figure another speed attempt is eating at him, therefore he is returning for another shot. Pete Swenson will be joining him this time and we know he is in shape, so another speed attempt is definitely in the forecast. We wish them the best of luck on their journey.
POV footage from Dave Watson ascending the Bottleneck Couloir of K2 in 2009.
In 2008, Fredrik Ericsson started his quest to ski the worlds three highest peaks by skiing on Kangchenjunga. Though a summit bid was thwarted by weather and snow, it kicked off his plan and this year he is attempting to ski K2. Last year, Fredrik visited K2 and started climbing the mountain, but his partner Michele Fait lost an edge on a return trip from camp 2 and lost his life. Fredrik is returning this year with Trey Cook (a journalist) and plans to attempt the peak without the use of oxygen. Last year, American Dave Watson became the first person to ever ski on the Bottleneck Couloir, but was unsuccessful at summitting K2. Let's hope Fredrik get's it this year.
Fredrik Ericsson on Kangchenjunga in 2008.
As heroic as the speed climbers’ achievements are, I’d rather not be in a “normal” expedition member’s place when the shit hits the fan and you have to face aborting your own summit bid for helping out one of them. They don’t carry anything and chances they could help anyone out are pretty slim when it comes to an unplanned night out.
Happenings at the recent Böhm/Haag Broad Peak mission were along that line. An italian climber had fallen to death the same day, so they were able to use the leftover tent, sleeping bag etc when they didn’t make it down.
Best of luck to everyone involved….
Talk about mental toughness – Fredrik’s partner dies on K2 last year, yet he still is able to return this year to try again.
i hear you eurob…and those guys got lucky with being able to use that tent, but my guess is they probably would have just kept moving through the night..descending, if that wasn’t an option. i guess it is the risk you take for these speed attempts.
yeah adayak…and his sponsors must have pretty deep pockets. i can’t imagine these trips are cheap. it’s gotta be hard to focus on the climb, when your passing the location of last years incident. i hope it goes well for him.
[…] been getting some reports regarding the status of the Broad Peak and K2 Ski Expeditions going on the the Himalaya right now, and it seems as though bad weather currently has them on hold. […]