A historic attempt to complete the first ever ski descent of K2, the world’s second highest mountain, has reportedly ended in tragedy with the death of Swedish extreme skier Fredrik Ericsson.
While there has been no official confirmation by his expedition, the Austrian news agency APA reports that Ericsson was climbing with female climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner when he slipped and fell over 3,000 feet off a steep cliff. Kaltenbrunner, who is trying to become the first woman to climb all fourteen of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without oxygen, subsequently retreated down the mountain to safety.
As we’ve been covering, the 35-year-old’s K2 summit attempt was part of Ericsson’s larger goal to ski the world’s three tallest peaks, Everest, K2, and Kangchenjunga.
Ericsson had been acclimatizing on Pakistan’s K2 for weeks now, and had been waiting for a new weather window to make his second summit attempt of the trip.
This expedition marked Ericsson’s second trip to K2 in less than a year, as It was only last June that Ericcson lost his climbing partner Michele Fait on their first attempt at the “savage mountain.”
Part of the reason for the mountain’s dubious nickname stems from the peak’s climbing conditions to easily turn from beautiful to life-threatening, something that likely played a factor in Ericsson’s accident.
According to an expedition report, climbing partner Trey Cook said they wouldn’t know the conditions approaching the summit until they got there, but was optimistic given the snow quality in the lower camps.
We’ll have more details as they are released, but wish to send our heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends.