Now that Australians have accepted the "official" retirement of our high altitude climber Andrew Lock, we've been left a little wanting in the 8000m department. There is even speculations that Andrew himself has been struggling with the density of the air in Aus, and reports of his passport carrying a 2014 Nepali stamp cannot be confirmed or denied. However, almost on cue to fill this void we've been enjoying the success of Chris Burke. She, along with our good friend Lakpa Sherpa have been on a rampage in the last 3 years with multiple summits each year. And now we've just learnt they, along with Tsering are safely down from a summit of K2 in Pakistan!
Sumit Joshi, Lakpa's business partner at Himalayan Ascent and Mountain Equipment staff member was quick to make an announcement: "Yesterday 26th July at 2.15pm (Pakistan time), Lakpa, Chirring and Chris Burke stood on top of K2, the second highest mountain in the world. Chris was the first Westerner to summit the mountain this season. Not just that, she’s now the first Australian woman to have summitted this Himalayan giant!!! Congrats to the whole team. K2 was a personal goal of Lakpa’s. They are making their descent back to base camp now." And Chris managed to update her blog at C4 on the way back down: "Lakpa, Tsering and I reached the summit of K2 at 2.15pm on the 26th July, the first summits of the season along with 4 others and about 25 soon after. It was an agonising day as all climbers got stuck behind the route setters for 6 hours or so total hence the late time for summits. I nearly froze 2 times and wanted to descend but the slow pace impacted everyone. Lakpa had to climb ahead in the night when route setters got stuck and near the summit the 2nd last section was not fixed so after waiting another hour, we roped up so as not to miss our chance and climbed ourselves and the ropes were fixed later. Six women summited today, the total number of women to ever summit is approximately 20 and I am approximately the 14th. We are currently at C4 and will descend today."
This is the pair's second 8000m summit this year after climbing Makalu in May and Chris has even hinted that the season may still not quite be over for them. Hopefully we will hear some more details soon.