Many would be satisfied with reaching the summit of Mount Everest but I’ve never excelled at complacency and it has long been my dream to climb K2, the 2nd tallest mountain in the world. While most know far less about this mountain, this Pakistani peak has received several nicknames, “The Savage Mountain”, “The Mountain of Mountains” and “The Holy Grail of Mountaineering”, alluding to why it is considered one of the most notable climbs that can be achieved by a mountaineer. It’s difficult and dangerous attributes make it a far more challenging and elusive summit than Everest. On June 20th, I depart for Pakistan to begin this next adventure.

Unlike on Everest, because the weather and route conditions are notoriously fickle on K2, we must be prepared to take advantage of very brief periods of good weather. Rock fall and snow avalanches are common on the route following K2’s Abruzzi ridge, making it often unsafe to climb or camp (as evidenced by the 2013 tragedy), and the monolithic ice cliff which overhangs the “bottleneck” and “traverse” portions of the route on summit day sheds ice frequently (as evidenced by the 2008 tragedy), so taking advantage of good route conditions and moving quickly are paramount.

Above base camp (16,300’) we will have 5 camps: Advanced Base Camp (17,400’), Camp 1 (19,900’), Camp 2 (21,980’), Camp 3 (23,800), and Camp 4 (25,300’). Much of the route leading up to Camp 4 is on steep snow or ice slopes, however there is also significant rock. Portions of the route such as House’s Chimney and The Black Pyramid involve sustained periods of vertical rock climbing. Our plan is to climb partway up the route reaching Camp 3 to acclimatize before making our summit rotation. Should we have the opportunity for a summit push, our summit day will begin with the gradual ascent of “the Shoulder” on hard snow and ice leading up to the bottleneck, a rock and snow climb under the looming Serac. Next is the “Traverse” which is mostly front pointing, and then the upper snow slopes leading to K2’s summit…

We are planning on taking the “Abruzzi Spur” route for our climb, which can be seen here:


Day 1: Arrive Islamabad early in the morning and complete our gear check.
Day 2: Fly from Islamabad to Skardu and explore around the village.
Day 3: All-day drive from Skardu to Askole in jeeps.
Day 4: Trek to Korofong 3,100m (10,320’).
Day 5: Trek to Bardumal 3,305m (10,906’).
Day 6: Trek to Paiju 3,383m (11,164’).
Day 7: Trek to Khoburtse 3,566m (11,768’).
Day 8: Trek to Urdukas 4,130m (13,630’).
Day 9: Trek to Goro 2 4,250m (14,025’).
Day 10: Trek to Concordia 4,600m (15,180’).
Day 11: Arrive K2 base camp 5,650m (18,650’).
Days 12-16: Rest days in base camp. Organize equipment, short hikes & climbs for acclimatization. If climbers are feeling well acclimatized we may begin our first ‘rotation’ without using all 5 of these rest days.

Days 17-40: Climbing period. We make at least one rotation climbing to Camps 1, 2 and 3 before making our summit attempt. During this time we establish our route and high camps, and evaluate the weather for our summit rotation.

We hope to summit between July 25th and August 5th.

Days 41-43: Organize gear for departure.

Day 44: Trek to Goro 2.

Day 45: Trek to Paiju.

Day 46: Trek to Askole.

Day 47: Drive from Askole to Skardu by jeep.

Day 48: Fly Skardu to Islamabad.

Day 49: Islamabad to USA.

Days 50-60: Contingency days in case of bad weather or poor climbing conditions. These “extra” days allow us the opportunity to wait out a better summit window and we will almost surely use a number of them.