Fredrik Ericsson Dies in First K2 Ski Descent Attempt
Fredrik Ericsson

As a result of the tragic death of Swedish alpinist and skier Fredrik Ericsson on K2 on Friday, what had begun as a week filled with great optimism in the Karakoram has unfortunately developed into a week filled with grief. It was Ericsson and his colleague, Trey Cook, from the United States, who had the goal of being the first men to ascend Mount K2 and then descend on skis.

On account of the fact that a previous attempt to top K2 that comprised Ericsson, Cook, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, Kinga Baranowska, and Fabrizio Zangrilli was unsuccessful due to inclement weather last week, it appeared as though the mountain would remain unclimbed for another year. This week, however, there was a single final try at making a hail mary because of an unusual period of weather that was unseasonably warm. The sun, however, did not provide a guarantee of perfect protection. Over the course of the week, climbers had to avoid bowling ball-sized rocks that had been disturbed by snow melt and were falling down the mountain. While they were sleeping with their helmets on, the climbers had already reached Camp 4 by the time they arrived.

All of the individuals, with the exception of Ericsson, Cook, and Kaltenbrunner, decided to remain in their tents on August 6th due to the return of the inclement weather. In the midst of the whiteout conditions, the three individuals pushed uphill, with Cook turning around below the Bottle Neck. Once Ericsson had entered the Bottle Neck, he was attempting to repair a rope that was in front of Kaltenbrunner when he lost his purchase. He was unable to stop his fall from occurring. With no injuries, Kaltenbrunner made his way back to Camp 4.

The result is that K2 has claimed yet another brilliant mountain star. To do this, it has required the sacrifice of a son, a friend, and, for those of us who were not acquainted with him, a person who motivated us all by his desire to attempt things that we were unable to or unable to do.

Known for his mountaineering and extreme skiing abilities, Jan Fredrik Ericsson was born on March 14, 1975, in Sundsvall, Sweden, and passed away on August 6, 2010, at K2, Pakistan. Although he lived most of his life in Chamonix, which is located in the French Alps, he was born and raised in Umeå, which is located in the northern region of Sweden.

Ismoil Somoni Peak, often known as Peak Communism, is located in Tajikistan and, during the summer of 2003, Ericsson ascended and skied its height of 7495 meters. As a result of his ski descent from the central summit of Shisha Pangma (8027 m) in Tibet in 2004, he made history by being the first Swede to ski down an 8000-meter peak.

In 2005, Ericsson and his Norwegian buddy Jorgen Aamot attempted to ski the coveted Laila Peak in Pakistan, which is located at an elevation of 6069 meters. However, during their effort, they were forced to turn around at 5950 meters due to the adverse weather. The mountain was skied down by them, making them the pioneers of the sport. In the same year, they also skied from the top of Gasherbrum II, which is located at an elevation of 8035 meters and is Ericsson’s second mountain which is 8000 meters.

The year 2007 saw Ericsson’s return to the Himalayas when he attempted to climb Dhaulagiri, which is located in Nepal and is 8,167 meters in height. At an altitude of 8000 meters, he was compelled to turn around due to the presence of huge volumes of snow and hazardous circumstances. From that point, he skied down three thousand vertical meters to reach base camp.

Svalbard, Turkey, Iceland, and Sicily were among the other places where Ericsson went skiing. In addition to appearing in ski movies like Free Radicals 618 and Kong Vinter 3, he was also included in documentaries like Skiing Everest.

How Fredrick Ericson died on K2

Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner accompanied Ericsson and his companion Trey Cook on their journey to the summit of K2 on August 6, 2010, at 1:30 in the morning. They were leaving Camp 4 (8000 meters) on their trip to the summit. The weather conditions were about -15 degrees Celsius, with a forecast for conditions to improve over the day. There was light snow, visibility of 100 meters, and a wind speed of 40 kilometres per hour. Since his hands had become frostbitten some weeks earlier while he was building Camp 3 for the crew, Cook decided to turn back between the hours of 6:30 and 7:00, just below the Bottleneck barrier. Both Ericsson and Kaltenbrunner resumed their ascent of the Bottleneck. While Ericsson was in the process of placing a piton, a boulder became loosened, which caused him to lose his position. He was killed after falling 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) from a height. The effort to the peak was abandoned by Kaltenbrunner.

August 6, 2010:

  • Fredrik Ericsson, a Swedish alpinist, tragically falls to his death from the Bottleneck on K2.
  • He was climbing with Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner from Austria, who witnessed the accident.
  • Despite the efforts of Gerlinde, Fredrik does not survive the fall.
  • Gerlinde, after a challenging descent, safely reaches Base Camp with her husband Ralf Dujmovits.

Details of the Accident:

  • At 01:30, Fredrik, his friend Trey, and Gerlinde set off from Camp IV on the shoulder of K2.
  • Due to bad weather, the other six mountaineers remain in their tents.
  • At 07:00, Gerlinde reports from the Bottleneck that only she and Fredrik continue climbing in poor visibility and cold winds.
  • An hour later, around 08:10, Gerlinde reports with dismay that Fredrik has fallen past her.
  • Gerlinde descends to search for Fredrik and finds one of his skis.
  • It is suspected that Fredrik fell toward the large flank to the hydrographic right of the ascent route from Camp III.
  • Gerlinde down climbs in poor visibility and meets Darek Zaluski and Fabrizio Zangrilli, who climbed up from the shoulder.
  • They all return to Camp IV safely on the summit.
  • Meanwhile, Russian mountaineer Yura Ermachek descends from the shoulder and locates Fredrik’s lifeless body approximately 400m diagonally above Camp III.
  • Due to the risk of avalanches and icefall, it is deemed unsafe to retrieve Fredrik’s body.
  • Fredrik’s father decides that it’s best to leave him there, overlooking his favourite mountains.
  • Gerlinde checks in from Camp II, mentioning difficulties in the descent due to stonefall, a torn rope, and precarious belays.
  • She plans to wait for the evening cold to reduce stonefall before continuing down to Base Camp.

Ski Descents

  • In 2003, Ericsson skied from the peak of Peak Somoni, also known as Peak Communism, which was 7495 meters high, all the way down to 4500 meters.
  • Over the course of 2004, he skied down to a height of 5,600 meters after climbing the central peak of Shisha Pangma.
  • In 2005, he and a Norwegian named Jorg Aamot ascended Gasherbrum II, which is located at an elevation of 8035 meters. Together, they skied from the peak to a height of 5500 meters.
  • Mont Blanc, the Gervasutti Couloir on Mont Blanc du Tacul, and the Y-couloir on Aiguille d’Argentière are some of the other important ski descents in the world.

Related: The snow board accident that claimed the like of Marco Siffredi


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