K2 Base Camp, Pakistan – Upon their arrival in Islamabad on May 30th, ski mountaineers Fredrik Ericsson of Sweden, and American Trey Cook were told of unusually deep snow conditions on the Baltoro Glacier. In the lead-up to their attempt to ski from the world’s second highest summit, the team thus changed their plan and decided to approach K2 via the Gondoro-la with an attempt on Laila Peak to acclimatize to the rarefied air at altitude and allow the deep snow to consolidate.nEricsson and Cook traveled from Islamabad to Hushe via Skardu, where the trek into Laila Peak base camp began. The team found the deepest snow in at least 15 years in the Gondogoro. Ericsson and Cook attempted a ski descent of Laila Peak, but were turned back 300 meters from the summit by deep, unstable snow. Ericsson, however, did enjoy a 1000 vertical meter descent on Laila’s pristine, 45-degree northwest face.
The planned routes of Frederik Ericsson’s ski descent of K2, the world’s second highest mountain.
Ericsson and Cook, along with 18 porters, then took three days to cross the Gondogoro-la pass, swing through Concordia and arrive at K2 base camp. They report that conditions on K2 are favorable, and the team will be heading up the Cesen Route tomorrow to Camp 1 for an early round of acclimatization and to scope the route by which they plan to ascend — and then descend on skis — K2.
This expedition marks Ericsson’s second attempt to ski the lofty Himalayan peak, which at 8611 meters (28,251 ft.) is second only to nearby Mount Everest amongst the highest summits on earth. Last summer’s expedition ended with the tragic death of his partner, Michele Fait of France, from injuries sustained in a fall in June 2009 while skiing K2’s C2 on the south-southeast spur.