K2: Sky- skier Fredrik Ericsson in fatal accident

After speaking with Fredrik’s father and Gerlinde, Ralf Dujmovits has released on his expedition website details about Fredrik Ericsson’s fall on K2:

Fredrik, Trey and Gerlinde left camp 4 at around 01:30 am this morning. Because of the worsening weather, the other 6 mountaineers remained in their tents.

Karl Gabl, the expedition weatherman, had forecasted that the wind and poor visibility would clear during the day so the three climbers stuck to schedule. Gerlinde checked in at 7 am from the bottom of the Bottleneck, reporting only they were continuing the ascent, still in poor visibility and a cold wind. Trey turned around.

Fredrik fell one hour later, past Gerlinde, possibly while placing an anchor. Looking for him in the whiteout, she found only one of his skis, the bad visibility prevented more details. Gerlinde descended alone and met up with Darek Zaluski and Fabrizio Zangrilli at around 9 am, who had come up to help.

Meanwhile Russian Yura Ermachek had descended off the shoulder toward camp III for a view of the ascent route. He spotted Fredrik’s lifeless body and backpack about 400 meters above camp 3. Traversing to the body would be connected to extreme risk and Fredrik’s dad decided 4 pm local time to leave his son there with his favorite view of the Chogolisa and Laila peaks.

Gerlinde latest checked in from camp 2 at 6 pm, reporting rock falls and a teared rope.

In 2006, the climbing community was shattered when Swedish extreme skier Tomas Olsson vanished on his ski-descent of Everest’s Great Couloir. As always though, a new generation took over to continue what’s left undone. Another Swedish extreme skier, Fredrik Ericsson, was headed to Nepal – to attempt the first ever ski descent of Dhaulagiri (8167), the seventh highest mountain in the world.

Surprisingly unknown in their native Sweden; Fredrik’s life had been eerily similar to Tomas Olsson’s. A professional skier from Sweden, Fredrik too resided in Chamonix, France. In 2004, the two kicked off Swedish 8000 meter downhill skiing – when Fredrik skied down from the central summit of Shisha Pangma (8012 meters) and Olsson skied down Cho Oyu together with his Norwegian friend Tormod.

The next year, in 2005, Fredrik traveled to Pakistan with Norwegian friend Jorgen Aamot, and skied his second 8000er, Gasherbrum 2 (8035 meters). On the same trip they also made an attempt on Laila Peak (6069 meters). They didn’t make the summit but skied down from 5940 m.

One year later again, in 2006, Tomas Olsson vanished on Everest’s steep and exposed Great Couloir. The next year, Fredrik made and attempt on Dhaulagiri. When fellow climbers pondered whether they were on the top or not; Fredrik simply announced “this is not the summit,” and skied down the peak from 8 000 to 4 700 meters. Fredrik’s 2008 Kanchenjunga attempt was aborted due to severe conditions, but he and Aamot skied the steep and avalanche-prone slopes from 7,000 to 5,500 meters.

In 2009, Fredrik Ericsson kicked off his dream to become the first to ski the world’s three highest mountains: Mount Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga. “I have already skied on three of the 14 8000-meter peaks. During these adventures I gained critical experience that will apply towards my goal of skiing the absolute highest.,” he said. “The project spans two years and I will try to ski the three highest mountains in the world: K2 (8612m) this summer (2009), Kangchenjunga (8586m) in autumn 2009, and Mount Everest (8850m) in the autumn of 2010.”

The summer 2009 K2 attempt was aborted after Fredrik’s climbing mate Italian Michele Fait fell to his death while skiing down from a lower camp. Fredrik’s ultimate goal to ski all 14 of the world’s 8000-meter peaks finally ended on K2 this morning.

Fredrik Ericsson grew up in Umea, a small town in northern Sweden, but spent most of the past decade training in Chamonix in the French Alps. As a professional skier he spent the winter traveling to ski resorts in the Alps and exotic mountain ranges around the world, or climbing in the Mont Blanc range.

Short summary of Fredrik’s previous ski descents:
2003 – Peak Somoni (7 495 m), Tajikistan.
2004 – Central summit of Shisha Pangma (8 012 m), Tibet.
2005 – Gasherbrum 2 (8 035 m), Pakistan.
2005 – Laila Peak (6 069 m), Pakistan, skied from 5 940 m.
2007 – Dhaulagiri (8167 m), Nepal, skied from 8 000 to 4 700 m.
2008 – Kangchenjunga, Nepal (8586 m). Skied from 7,000 to 5,500 m.


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