Austrian speedclimber Christian Stangl back to K2 this year.
July, 7. Christian Stangl has arrived at the base camp of the K2 yesterday evening (local time). "The weather is extremely bad. Even the base camp at 4,000 meters is snow-hidden. There were no such conditions for a long period of time", describes Stangls his first impressions. This however, did not keep the extreme mountaineer from immediately climbing up the K2. At an altitude of 6,000 meters above sealevel Stangl contacted his manager Ernst Wilde for a first detailed report. "There is constant snowfall. Avalanches can be heard almost every minute. There are piles of newly fallen snow. All tracks have disappeared so I must make my own path through the deep snow. This is highly strenious, but at least it facilitates acclimatisation", says an optimistic Stangl.
Today Stangl will climb up the K2 as far as possible. He might spend the night in a tent that was left behind and return tomorrow morning. This way Stangl gets acclimatised to the extreme altitude and weather conditions.
According to Stangl it won't be before next week that he can start his speed ascent to the K2. Before he will either climb up to an altitude of 8,100 meters, precisely to the place of last year's accident, or else ascend the Broad Peak on the opposite side in order to get a good topographic view on the K2. "Safety is my prior concern. I need precise information on the situation up there", claims Stangl.
Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, who is also "waiting" for better weather at the K2, has briefly welcomed Stangl. At the base camp Stangl also met the two German mountaineers Benedikt Bohm and Sebastian Haag, who plan to tackle the Broad Peak in the so-called "Stangl-Style". I.e. as fast as possible and without technical devices.
According to Stangls estimate there are some 30 persons. Some left due to the political uproar in Pakistan, others were kept off by the bad weather conditions. Also the death of the Italian extrem mountaineer Michele Fait at the K2 a few days ago has made some change their mind.
Stangl represents the first "One-man-group" at the K2. No one before him has ever intended to tackle the K2 all alone. In his failed attempt of last year, he was accompanied by his friend Thomas Strausz. Both had to terminate due to the major avalanche at 8,100 meters.
"This year the K2 once again shows its nasty face. There have also been years when no one reached the summit. The K2 is not a mountain for toursists, providing a nice view and a cosy hotel. Nevertheless I'll go up there - by all means", is Stangl's final statement. According to the Skyrunner himself, his chances to reach the peak are fifty-fifty.
July, 6. Last year Christian gave K2 a try but was forced back at 8.100m in the night between August 1st and August 2nd when huge parts of the serac above bottleneck broke off - 11 climbers died
He plans a very fast ascent this year, hoping to break speed record (1986!) of Benoit Chamoux - 23 hours from ABC via Abruzzi to summit.
Stangl will scope the lethal Serac above bottleneck first. If it looks to dangerous, he will switch to the "Wiessner" Variant in the upper part and finish this line to the summit.
Wiessner variant: Attempted first by Fritz Wiessner and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama. In 1939 these two men have set a record in altitude when they reached 8,382 meters - thr route still not finished till today.
Chris made a single day push of Everest in spring 2006. He reached the summit in less than 17 hours without use of artificial oxygen and resupplies.
Later he completed his "seven summits speed" project, making a single day push on each mountain. He completed his project in December 2007 by an total ascent time of all seven summit by 58hours45 minutes.
Further he speedclimbed Mt. Cho Oyu 8.201m from basecamp 5.600m to summit (October 1st 2007)
He holds several speed records in the Andes. Eg. He climbed ten 6.000m+ peaks in seven days continuously and in may 2008 he climbed four 6.000m+ volcanoes in 22 hours.
He started climbing 8.000m+ peaks climbing with an age of 32, soloing south face of Shisha Pangma (British route); 2001 he soloed a new route variation in the "Junge Face"/North side of Cho Oyu.
Seven Summits Speed Project
Total Ascent time 58h45min
Mt.Everest 8.848m 16h 42 min
from Basecamp 6.400m at northside to summit / without artificial oxygen
Mount Vinson 4892m 9 h 10min
from basecamp at Brainscomb Glaciar
Denali (Mt.Mc.Kinley) 6.194m 16 h 45min
from Khahiltna Glaciar to summit
Carstensz Pyramide mit 4.884m 49 min
via Harrer Route to summit
Mt.Elbrus 5.643m 5h 18min
Azau Town (Talstation Lift) zum Gipfel
Kilimandscharo 5.895m 5h 36min
from National park entrance via Umbwe route to summit.
Aconcagua 6.956m 4h 25min
from Basecamp Plaza de Mulas to summit
Source: Dr. Ernst Wilde, www.wilkom.at