Laila Peak & K2 - Fredrik Ericsson

It's an awesome challenge but skiing K2 was a lifelong ambition for Fredrik Ericsson, so find out more about this last ultimate challenge.

Laila Peak

On 30 May, Fredrik Ericsson and Trey Cook started on a journey to ski K2. K2 is the second highest mountain in the world and at 8612m  it's verging on about 4000 metres higher than anything skiable in the Alps! So not only was their quest all about skiing down the mountain, it was about acclimatising to the thinner air, climbing and of course survival.

Due to the Baltoro glacier having very deep snow, the team decided to give it time to settle and to prepare by skiing Laila Peak instead! No mean feat, this is one awesome and beautiful mountain!

Why Laila Peak?

In order to acclimatise themselves properly, they set out to attempt to ski down Laila Peak Mountain in Pakistan . At a height of 6069m this is no small feat either! Laila Peak has a summit that forms an almost perfect needle. Laila Peak is situated to the east of Gondogoro glacier and the west of the Chogolisa Glacier in the Masherbrum Mountains of Baltistan.

Fredrik knew this mountain well as in the summer of 2005, he made the first ever ski attempt with a colleague Jörgen Aamot. They didn't reach the summit, but did manage to ski down the North-West face of the peak.

The mountain can be climbed in alpine style in about 7 hours (a day) from 'Camp 1' (with the incline going no more than 55 degrees). Many people choose to break it in to 2 days and do the descent 'refreshed' on the second day!

This time round, they attempted to get to the top of Laila Peak but fell about 300m short due to unstable snow. Ericsson did however enjoy a 1000m vertical descent on Laila's 45 degree northwest face!

Heading off to K2

Following this skiing on Laila Peak, the team headed out on a 3-day trek to the Gondogoro-la pass through Concordia in order to arrive at the K2 base camp. Everything seemed fine and so they settled in for 3 weeks acclimatisation.

In 2009, Fredrik's partner, 44 year old Italian Michele Fait, fell to his death while descending from an acclimatisation climb on K2, so Fredrik was very aware of the dangers.

fredrik ericsson

At about 1:30 am on 6th August 2010, Trey, Gerlinde and Fredrik left K2 camp 4, which is at about 8000m, in order to go to the Summit. A few hours later, as the three climbers reached the base of the bottle neck, Trey decided to return to camp 4. Fredrik and Gerlinde continued on and Fredrik was fixing a rope to the rock in the bottle neck above her, when he lost his grip and could not stop a fall. Fredrik fell about 1000m and did not survive.

Fredrik Ericsson

Ericsson during his life skied in many amazing places including Turkey, Iceland and Svalbard. He also skied a lot in Chamonix where he spent most of his time.

14 March 1975 – 6 August 2010

 

Further Reading:

http://www.fredrikericsson.com/
http://www.everestnews.com
http://www.summitpost.org

By Will Smith

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