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18 August 2010, 11:49

(ExplorersWeb/Madrid) “If mountain climbing were as the last 70 hours here at K2, I would immediately stop,” Christian Stangl ensured at arrival back in BC. The Austrian sky-runner bagged the only K2 summit this season on Aug12th, at 10:00am, local time, in a lonely 70 hours-long push up the Abruzzi Spur.

Although a larger debrief is expected upon his return home, Christian reported some details on the ascent and a summit pic via sat-phone, before leaving BC yesterday.

Snow, falling rocks and just one stop on the way up

“I set off from BC on Tuesday at 5:00pm, up the Abruzzi Spur, and climbed all the way to my C3 at 7,100m,” Christian told his home team. “It snowed all the time and some rocks fell on my way.”

“In C3 the skies cleared – just as Charly Gabl had forecasted,” Stangl noted.”I had to hurry up since I knew I just had some hours time before conditions worsened up again.”

At 10:00 am on Thursday, Christian stood on the top only a few moments, before speeding back to C3. "The visibility was not very good,” he stated. “I took no pleasure at being on the summit – that mountain is so dangerous! Technically is not that difficult, but otherwise it is certainly the most dangerous mountain I've ever tried or done!”

A ghostly visitor

"Thursday at 5:00pm I continued down the Abruzzi Spur. During the night, I was guided by my GPS, although at times I separated from the original route, since the ropes were so soaked that rappelling was impossible. At midnight I looked for shelter under a ledge and fell asleep. I woke up again by at dawn, at about 4 am.

“You won’t believe me now but – as I woke up, I saw an animal (like a cat) standing in front of me!” Back at BC I was told it may have been a snow leopard. Back then though, I thought I was freaking out.”


Not fun at all

“Summarizing: In the last three years I’ve spent 4 and a half months on this mountain, and had only one nice day – which I used to reach the top,” Christian pointed out. “As I said before – this is not fun at all; otherwise topping-out is a compensation for all the hardships endured though. Now, I just want to return home as fast as possible."

After sleeping for 12 hours, Christian packed up and left. On his latest call home yesterday, he was already trekking towards Skardu. “I am craving good food and a bier,” he said.

However, both things may have to wait. K2 and Gasherbrums teams are reporting on difficulties to reach Skardu, and an even tougher time to catch a plane seat to Islamabad (read a separate report on later today).

Update, 10:00am EST: It's over for the Polish team

"Jet Stream up the mountain and avalanches at lower parts have forced us to draw back," Polish Boguslaw Ogrodnik reported. "Devastated we have already come down to the base camp. We reserved the porters for the 18th of August."

July 4, 2009: Christian Stangl turned back at 8,300 meters on a speed attempt on K2. One year later, the Austrian sky-runner returned to repeat the feat, “plus the 316 meters I left undone to the summit,” he stated.

Devoted to speed ascents, in May 2006 Christian summited Everest w/o O2 in only 16 hours 42 minutes. from BC to the top, and six more hours back to BC.

K2 is the first stage of Christian’s current project. After bagging the speed "seven summits" (including Everest in 16h 42min w/o O2 or high camps), Stangl hopes to run up the “second highest 'seven'”. After K2, he will head to Mount Tyree, Antarctica’s tallest peak after Vinson.