K2 Summit surrounded
Attention is about to shift from Mt Everest to K2 this season with four teams each set on pioneering new routes with no extra oxygen.
K2's neglected West Face will be navigated by Victor Kozlov and his award winning team. The ascents that earned them the Piolet d'Or (the Golden Ice-axe) on Lhotse Middle and the new route on Everest's North Face in 2004 will set the tone for their method.The Polish-Slovakian team's focus will be a different route on the same face. Team member Morawski said they intend to conquer the face as quickly as possible due to its dangerous nature. Morawski already has two 8,000-meter peaks under his belt this spring alone, and is no stranger to speed and first ascents.
The 11,000-vertical-foot wall on the north face belongs to Kazakh's Denis Urubko and Serguey Samoilov who have been practicing alpine assaults for two years. Both Broad Peak (2005) and Manaslu's (2006) new routes belong to them. The face is still virgin territory largely due to dangerous serac bands.
Americans Bill Pierson and Fabrizio Zangrilli will be ascending from the peak's opposite 9,500-foot South Face. Their plan pivots a direct route right of the Southwest Pillar (The Magic Line). K2's South-Southeast Spur will be their acclimatization zone before embarking on their alpine style ascent.