K2 flash expedition 2019: The journey has started!

Building on a great winter with many outings with friends (check the blog post „Looking back on an awesome winter“!) and excellent training I am now on my way to K2 basecamp.

K2 with pre-acclimatization

As last year for Mount Everest I have done a pre-acclimatization routine at home where I slept and trained as much as possible under hypoxia to simulate the high-altitude environment and hopefully replace as many mountain acclimatization rotations as possible ;). I feel quite good and I believe that the pre-acclimatization routine went very well and better than last year. I am using the system from Hypoxico / Furtenbach Adventures and it works really well. For the altitude of Munich I was able to achieve a simulated altitude as high as 7500m which is really good.

For the active hypoxia training with the generator I did mainly interval training from 40-60 minutes with 5 minutes high intensity and five minutes low intensity. Every third time I replaced the classical interval training with an intermittend training where the high intensity is done with mask on and the low intensity with mask off, that is, breathing normal air. Other than training with the generator I did as many training sessions on higher mountains as possible, I did for example go twice up to Mont Blanc and once up to Großglockner in the weeks before my departure.

Overall I collected about 300 hours of hypoxia training within six weeks before my departure which is pretty much the goal I had when I started.

Hypoxia training on spinning bike
Hypoxia training on spinning bike
Hypoxia training at simulated altitude of 7000m on Bowflex trainer

The K2 team

The team for K2 consists of five people: One mountain guide and four team members. Our mountain guide is Max Berger from Austria, supercool guy and an extremely strong climber and mountaineer, that is awesome. I am very much looking forward to work with him. Then there is an American, David, who climbed Everest without supplemental oxygen (which is quite a feat as most of you know from my experience ;)), Anja from Germany, Dani Arnold – one of the strongest mountaineers worldwide (I have for example climbed Eiger North Face with him), and myself. Dani and Anja are already in the basecamp and will start acclimatization runs a bit earlier. Max and I are travelling together from Europe to basecamp. David will arrive beginning of July. Most of us have done the pre-acclimatization.

The journey and next days

I left Germany on Wednesday, June 19th, flew to Istanbul where I met Max, and we then travelled together to Islamabad where we arrived on Thursday.

Unfortunately, Turkish Air had managed to leave my baggage behind in Istanbul so I had to delay my flight to Skardu. But luckily on Friday everything arrived early in the morning and I was able to catch the 8am flight from Islamabad to Skardu. The waiting time made me somewhat nervous because my entire expedition equipment is in the bags…but all is well now!

Passing time in Islamabad

While waiting for my bags in Islamabad I took the chance to stroll around a little bit. I got lucky and could catch a spy shot of a new BMW car model which seems to be secretly tested in Islamabad:

Spy shot new BMW model
Spy shot new BMW model

And in the evening I had a yummy dinner in the „New Kabul Restaurant“ (near Safa Gold Mall) which I can highly recommend if you ever find yourself in Islamabad and are hungry!

Arrival in Skardu on Friday, 21 June 2019

And on Friday I finally reached Skardu. On the way to Skardu we had a nice view onto Nanga Parbat. Skardu is otherwise as it was two years ago: Dirty and noisy ;). So we just stayed in the hotel and I was working on my blog.

The next days: Going do Askole, and walking to basecamp

We spent the day in Skardu waiting for some paperwork. On Saturday we will continue by Jeep to Askole where we will then spend the night. Then on Sunday we will start the four-five day walk to the basecamp. We will walk up the Baltoro glacier, pass the Trango Towers and Masherbrum with its great ridge, then arrive at the breathtaking Concordia where we will then turn left and continue some hours to Broad Peak / K2 basecamp.

Probably no internet connection until end of June

There is some probability that I will not be able to send any updates until end of June as I have not brought a hand-held satellite device with me this time but will only have access to a sat-connection in the basecamp. But at least it will then be a high-speed connection ;). Check www.furtenbachadventures.com for updates in the meantime.

In order to comment btw you have to click on the blog post directly (in the menu), then a commentary field opens up. And: The blog is not yet fully optimized for mobile usage, my apologies. I will work on that as soon as I have an internet connection again.


I am very excited! We are a superstrong team which is good as then there will be a lot of motivation and power to push through also in possibly harsh conditions. On the other hand I heard there seems to be a lot of snow this year, and there seems to be a large Chinese team planning to go to K2 as well. They are usually known to be not the fastest and it is a large group which might cause traffic jams at the cruxes. On the other side that means there will be a lot of people and Sherpas to make a path through the snow. But we will know more as soon as I arrive in the basecamp!

Until then, I wish you all a great summer, talk to you soon!

Eduard going for 8000m again

It’s on again – one more shot for me at 8000m climbing!

Why again?

Since my visit to Pakistan two years ago I have been pretty gripped by the mountains and landscape of the northern part Gilgit-Baltistan. A rare and wild country with gorgeous mountain sceneries. Mostly, the incredible, breathtaking and mighty K2 has been stuck in my mind, more so since we then had had to turn around at camp 2 due to non-favorable conditions in 2017. But once you see the K2 (from Concordia) live and in full view, you fully understand why famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner called K2 the „mountain of mountains“. At least to me it screams „climb me“. Many of you will remember this fascination and admiration for K2 from my presentation last year.

K2 mountain of mountains
K2 mountain of mountains

Thus, after some thought I decided some months ago to give the mighty K2 one more shot! And that’s why you are now reading this blog ;).

Some background information on K2

Where is K2 located?

The K2 mountain is with 8611m the second highest mountain on earth and usually considered more difficult and dangerous than Mount Everest. It is located on the border between Pakistan and China in the Karakoram mountain chain which stretches from Northwest in Western China over Northern Pakistan to Southeast in India about 700 km long and 100-150km wide, where to the Southeast the proper Himalaya region continues. Politically, Karakoram is located in the Northern part of the disputed Kashmir region. In square meters, the largest part of Karakoram is part of the autonomous region Gilgit-Baltistan in Northern Pakistan. K2 is part of the mountain range Baltoro Muztagh within Karakoram, this range contains four peaks above 8000m: K2, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II. They are all located within a few kilometers which is the highest density of 8000m peaks on earth!

Is Karakoram part of the Himalayas?

There are arguments both pro and contra whether the Karakoram should be considered part of the Himalayas. From a geological standpoint the Karakoram can be considered part of the Himalayas as for example the rock formations are rather similar. On the other side, Karakoram and Himalaya arose from different landmasses: Karakoram from the Asian landmass, Himalaya from the Indian subcontinent when they drifted onto each other.

In practice the Indus river valley is usually considered the separation between the Southeastern part of the Karakoram and the Northwestern part of the „proper“ Himalayas. Karakoram is geologically a very active area with the Indian subcontinent still drifting into the Asian landmass. This is the reason why Karakoram / Kashmir unfortunately sometimes experiences devastating earth quakes.

Is the Karakoram as accessible as Khumbu valley in Nepal?

Some of you might have visited the Khumbu valley in Nepal, e.g. for the Everest Basecamp Trek. Then you will have met a lot of fellow people who are doing the same thing ;). How is it in the Karakoram?

For the largest part, the Karakoram is pretty inaccessible for tourists / motorways. Only the Hunza valley is readily accessible via the Karakoram highway. Otherwise, the Karakoram is mostly reserved for mountaineering and trekking, involving long approaches, small roads only for jeeps, or treks by foot. This makes it harder to reach the cool places, but will have the wild mountains here most of the same time pretty much for yourself!

One reason for this difficult accessibility is also the fact that the Karakoram is one of the most heavily glaciated regions on earth, outside the Polar regions. About 30-50% are glaciated, compared with about 2% for the Alps. It also contains some of the longest glaciers on earth outside the Polar regions (up to 70km).

Where does the name „K2“ come from?

The name K2 stems from the British survey engineer Thomas George Montgomerie who surveyed the Karakoram peaks from a greater distance in 1856 and numbered them according to the height measurements: K1, K2, K3, etc. However, he made a mistake and labeled the Masherbrum mountain „K1“ believing this to be the highest Karakoram mountain which in reality is much lower than K2. To date, the K2 has kept its name or you could say has not really been named whereas most other „K“ mountains have received „proper“ names.

When was K2 climbed for the first time?

K2 was first climbed in 1954 by Achille Compagnoni und Lino Lacedelli, with supplemental oxygen. Interestingly, the second successful climb only took place in 1977, inter alia due to developments around the Second Indian-Pakistan war in 1965 where the region was blocked by the Pakistan government from 1961 to 1974. The first summit without supplemental oxygen took place in 1978.

The normal route up K2: Abruzzi spur

The normal way up K2 is the Southeast spur, the Abruzzi spur. So called because of the Italian Duke of Abruzzi who made first advances on K2 in 1909 via the Southeast ridge where the reached an altitude of about 6000m. It later turned out to be the easiest way to the summit. Check out the other routes from the South side here: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/K2#/media/Datei:K2_south_routes.jpg

K2 routes from the South
K2 routes from the South. F is the Abruzzi Spur

There are other ways up to K2 as you can see in the picture but they are very rarely used. C for example is the famous Magic Line which has only been climbed twice at all in the past fifty years. It involved climbing in the 6th difficulty degree on 8000m. D is the so called Polish line which has only been climbed once at all by two Polish alpinists. Messner called the line suicidal…

K2 can also be climbed from the North, from China. But this is a really long long and cumbersome expedition where it will take you at least two weeks to reach basecamp by foot, which involves crossing the Shaksgam river at a suitable place as there are no bridges. So this is a special endeavor rather reserved for professional alpinists or people with a looooot of time.

How to get to K2 basecamp for the Abruzzi spur:

In order to reach K2 basecamp for the Abruzzi spur you travel to Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, then take a flight to Skardu (otherwise you have to travel two days in a bus on the Karakoram highway), from Skardu you go with a Jeep in about a day to Askole, and from Askole you then walk about three to four days via the mighty Baltoro glacier to Concordia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordia_(Karakoram) ), then you turn left and continue several hours on the Godwin-Austen glacier until you reach K2 basecamp.

And now the journey begins. Check the following blog posts :).

Looking back on an awesome winter 2018/2019

The past winter – which for me pretty much ended only on 17 June 2019 with a last skiing trip to Chamonix – has been an awesome and exceptional winter in terms of so many fantastic adventures shared with friends, many exciting solo excursions, tons of snow especially in the Eastern alps, long trainings, great and new descents, progressing technically and mentally in my skiing, and many stunning sceneries.

Thank you everybody who shared the stoke and/or helped me out: Vivian, AndY, Didi, Joni, Adrian, Daniel, Miri, Edgar, Lukas, Caro, Ralf, Katharina, Samuel, Corinna, Andi, Laura, Michi, Matheo, Sebastian, Christoph, Leonhardt, and Melissa :)!