Guiding companies Madison Mountaineering and Himalayan Experience (also known as Himex) announced over the weekend that they will no longer attempt to summit K2, according to postings on the Madison Mountaineering website and an interview with Explorersweb. Both guide outfitters noted this season’s uncommonly warm temperatures on K2, which have increased the danger of avalanches.
“Yesterday, one member of our Sherpa team was injured by a falling rock. We flew him by helicopter this morning to Skardu, where he is being attended to,” Madison Mountaineering leader Garrett Madison wrote on a blog post published on Saturday. “The climate here has warmed up dramatically, and as a result snow slides down to the glacial ice have peeled off K2 and the surrounding peaks.”
Madison is no stranger to the risks avalanches can pose. He was at Everest Base Camp on April 25, when 19 people were killed after an earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche on Everest. Last year, Madison led the first successful guided expedition of K2. This year, his team included Vanessa O’Brien, who would have been the first-ever American woman to summit K2.
Madison Mountaineering and Himex have both said that they are open to a summit attempt of Broad Peak, the 12th-highest mountain in the world, which is adjacent to K2.