It’s been a summer of triumph and tragedy on K2, the world’s second highest mountain, where Don Beavon of Tulalip is attempting to become one of fewer than 300 people in history to reach the summit.
Nineteen climbers from an assortment of different groups from around the world reached the 28,251-foot summit on Friday, according to Beavon. He was able to borrow a satellite phone to call his wife, Sheila Murphy, over the weekend.
Three American climbers were among those who summited, though no one from Beavon’s 10-member team has made it yet.
A sherpa climbing with a Korean team fell to his death from high on the mountain, according to a report from the Web site K2climb.net. And Italian climber Stefano Zavka has been missing since descending from the summit on Friday.
It was about 11 a.m. Sunday on K2, on the border of Pakistan, China and India, when Beavon called, Murphy wrote in an e-mail.
“It sounded very noisy, excited, and jubilant in the background as some of the Russians who had summited were coming into base camp,” Murphy wrote. “I could almost feel the celebration as climbers cheered the Russian team coming into camp.”
American Don Bowie was among those who reached the summit, according to K2climb.net. Others included Koreans, Iranians, Italians, sherpas, one climber each from France and Portugal, and the Russians.
Members of Beavon’s team helped carry Bowie to base camp after he had made much of the descent with an injured leg, according to K2climb.net. Others have also been injured on the mountain.
Beavon helped establish the highest camp on the mountain, called C4, at about 25,000 feet, Murphy wrote.
Beavon, 50, wrote that the two oldest climbers in the team – he being one – and the youngest climber were the three to set up the high camp.
“He sounded in good spirits, said he was feeling well, and was back at base camp to wait for a five-day window of good weather to make a summit push,” Murphy wrote. “It is snowing like mad, cold and blowing.”