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 K2 2009: Christian Stangl Austrian K2 climber Update on plans

Christian Stangl camp reports: „I’ll go up there – by all means“ 

Skyrunner Christian Stangl has reached base camp of the K2. For the purpose of acclimatisation the outstanding athlet from Austria directly tackled the peak, and he did it inspite of extremely bad weather. This year Stangl once again tries to reach the summit of the K2, the second highest mountain on earth, in less than 24 hours.

Admont/Vienna – July 7, 2009 ---- After a five-days walk from the small Pakistani provincial town Askole the Skyrunner 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 sea level 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.

Based on such information Stangl will then be able to decide on whether to take the old route or else, and more likely, to take a new route to the peak at 8,611 meters. Probably the track of the pioneer alpinists Fritz Wiessner and Sherpa Pasang Dawa Lama. In 1939 these two men have set a record in altitude when they reached 8,382 meters, and until this day their route  has not been completed. And Stangl intends to „complete“  it, also as a sign of respect and appreciation for the great mountaineering achievments of his predecessors.

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 Böhm 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. "I am pleased to see young alpinists, whom I could convince of my stil to ascend peaks of 8,000 m and more in as little time as possible", comments Stangl.

Apparently this year at the K2 there are less mountaineers than initially expected. 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 extreme 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 avalanche, which also blocked the way back, has killed 11 mountaineers in 2008.

„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. 

The 8.611 meter K2 should be the third eight-thousand mountain in Stangls career he want’s to skyrun: in less than 24 hours from base camp to summit and back. For Mt. Everest Stangl needed 17 hours to the summit, 8.188 high Cho Oyu skyrunned Stangl in 15 hours. The total time from base camp to summit and downhill to base camp again was under 24 hours. The highest mountains as a day trip. “It is possible to clim every mountain on earth in one day. For me it isn’t a challenge to be the 299th on top of K2. Not very exciting. Only speed counts”, Stangl confident. 

“Skyrunning” – Stangl invented this new discipline to alpinism – claims a very challenge to mountaineers: no help from a team, no special equipment, no artificial oxygen in containers. Only a few energy bars and two liters of water: the only equipment Stangl needs to skyrun the summits of the highest mountains on earth. “It’s only the race against the stop watch, not against the mountain. Really “honest” alpine climbing”, as Stangl stated.

Editorial note: Christian Manager has answered the question: Unclear from above if this mean he will not touch ropes or camps put in by others...: "Christian uses already existing fixed ropes on the way to the summit. And also tents left behind by former expeditions; to stay overnight  if necessary, to acclimate for a while in this high altitude and  to survive  if whether changes and it's better to crawl in a tent."

Earlier: Christian Stangl Austrian K2 climber for year 2009 arrived in Pakistan on June 28, 2009.

Today June 29, 2009 he flew to Skardu, tomorrow he will drive to Askole and in four days he plan to reach K2 base camp for his goal K2 8611m.
Last year he reach 8000m on K2. when the big accident happen and he give-up his attempt and help in rescue efforts.
In picture today morning Chris is ready to leave for Skardu, Islamabad International airport

Asghar Ali Porik
M/s Jasmine Tours
Transit Camp: House #15, Street #15, Garden Town, Near Khanna Bridge, Islamabad.
Site: www.jasminetours.com




Copyright© Billy Pierson


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