By Tetsuhiko Endo
What started out as a week of great hope in the Karakoram has instead ended in tragedy with the Death of Swedish alpinist and skier Fredrik Ericsson on K2 on Friday. Ericsson and his partner, American Trey Cook, were hoping to become the first men to climb K2 and descend on skis.
After a previous summit bid that included Ericsson, Cook, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Kinga Baranowska, and Fabrizio Zangrilli was repelled by bad weather last week, it looked as if K2 would go unclimbed for another year. However, a rare stretch of unseasonably warm weather allowed one last hail mary attempt this week. But even the sun didn’t offer complete safety. All week, climbers dodged bowling ball-size rocks displaced by snow melt that careened down the mountain. By the time the climbers reached Camp 4, they were sleeping with their helmets on.