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Niclevicz, Blanc and Camandona's ascent of K2


Details of the successful ascent

After enduring two months of bad weather the Brasilian Waldemar Niclevicz and the Italians Abele Blanc and Marco Camandona successfully reached the summit of K2 (8611m) on Saturday 29 July via the Abruzzi Spur.

Their ascent is reported below:

26 July

All begins on 26 July. A good weather forecast from Spain convinces Waldemar Niclevicz to leave Base Camp with 4 high altitude porters. Knowing this is their last chance and that the weather should remain stable for 3/4 days, they climb directly to Camp 2 at 6700m.

27 July

Abele Blanc and Marco Camandona leave Base Camp directly for Camp 3 (7450m!). Niclevicz leaves Camp 2 to reach the others, but during his ascent a high altitude porter is hit by a falling rock and needs to be carried down by two porters. Niclevicz continues his climb with one porter and two Americans who are hoping to reach their Camp 3 (7300 m). On getting there they realise that their tents have been buried by an avalanche. All three continue to Camp 3 at 7450m.

28 July

The weather continues to improve and moral is high. Reunited at Camp 3, Blanc, Camandona and Niclevicz depart for Camp 4. Progress is slow as there is much fresh snow, no beaten track or fixed ropes – they finally reach Camp 4 at 7950m. At 23.00 Niclevicz heads for the summit with the high altitude porter Meherban Shah, who has already climbed K2 once before. After the bottleneck at 8300m Meherban Shah turns back because of the intense cold. Niclevicz continues.

29 July

Blanc and Camandona leave Camp 4 later and reach Niclevicz at about 4.30am at 8400m. The sun finally warms up the trio on the Japanese traverse. At 15.30 the summit is still distant and knee-deep fresh snow makes progress extremely tiring. Luckily the weather is fantastic: sun, blue skies and zero wind. Finally, at 19.30, they reach the summit. They are overcome by emotions. But it is late and the descent is never-ending. Fatigue and altitude cause Camandona and Niclevicz to lose their headtorches and they continue, guided by the light of Blanc’s headtorch. At 8400m Niclevicz decides to bivouac, sheltered by a crevasse, for most of the night at -30° C. Blanc and Camandona continue and reach Camp 4 at 4.00am. Niclevicz arrives at 7.00am and the three descend together to Base Camp.

At Base Camp they undergo a rapid medical checkup: Niclevicz and Camandona are diagnosed with light frostbite, while Abele Blanc is fine

It has now begun to snow again.


K2 photos Manuel Lugli

K2 (8611m) is the second highest mountain on earth. Situated in the Karakorum, on the border between Pakistan and China, it was first climbed on 31 July 1954 by the Italians Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni, led by Ardito Desio.

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