EXPED ambassador, Graham Zimmerman, has emerged, over the past decade, as one of the finest alpinists in the world. He has made many first ascents in the great mountain ranges of the world and won the highest praise from the mountaineering community. In 2020, he received the gold medal of alpinism, the coveted Piolet d’Or, for his team's 2019 first ascent of the southeast face of Link Sar (7041m) in the Pakistani Karakoram. All of his climbs are done in the cleanest style and with small teams. So with each passing year, we wonder what GZ’s next objective will be. Recently, we got his official announcement of his 2021 destination: the Karakoram giant and 2nd highest peak in the world, Chogori (also known as K2).
June 3, 2021
"The Karakoram is the mountain range that I find most inspiring. It is where I have seen some of my biggest success as an alpinist, and it is where I have learned some of my most important lessons.
There is one peak in the Karakoram that literally stands above the rest, a peak that I have seen on the horizon from several different summits and has always attracted my attention, the majestic and steep 8611m Chogori, or K2.
For many years now, it has been a dream of mine to take the lessons learned on lower peaks and apply them to the highest peak in the Karakoram. This summer, along with @ianwelsted, I am going to give it a try.
We will not be taking on the traditional routes to the summit. Instead, we'll be trying the West Ridge in a lightweight and modern alpine style.
I am delighted to share that the team at @tincupwhiskey is coming along for this journey. I am joining their #PartnerInAdventure team and they are supporting Ian's and my endeavors on K2.
We leave in a couple of weeks and during that time, I will be sharing some of the planning going into the trip, from climbing gear to food to Covid protocols. Then we'll drop off the radar for the summer.
I am very excited."
June 9th, 2021
"Many folks have been asking why Ian and I have chosen the West Ridge of Chogori/K2.
I thought it easiest to take you through a bit of my thought process and research. Note that Ian's is different than mine, and one of the bits of magic about this trip is that we have found ourselves inspired by a similar objective at the same time.
I've been focused on climbing 6 & 7000m peaks for several years now and have become very curious about how my body would perform on the highest peaks. With this in mind, I have been researching objectives on those highest hills (8k+) that are compelling and relatively safe.
Since most of my big mountain experience has been in the Pakistani Karakoram, it was an obvious choice to look at objectives in that range since I have so much more experience with conditions, weather, and logistics.
This left me with 5 choices, and I scoured them for new routes or old routes that could be redefined, that fit the parameters I was looking for.
The West Ridge is stunning. It's not super hard while still being technical. If conditions are right, it will be safe (i.e., no big seracs), and it has an unclimbed direct finish that looks pretty sweet.
So, that's what we're going to attempt.
In this image (that is not mine) the west ridge is the left hand skyline."