Alberta adventurer to climb 'Savage Mountain,' more dangerous than Everest

'I’m a bit nervous to be honest,' Stuart Erskine told CBC Radio’s Edmonton AM

Photo 2016-05-07, 5 24 19 PM

Stuart Erskine and a fellow climber scale Khumbu Ice Falls, a training glacier on Everest, enroute to the summit. (Submitted)


A Camrose adventurer is getting ready to climb the world's second-highest mountain, nicknamed Savage Mountain because of its extreme difficulty.  

"I'm a bit nervous to be honest," Stuart Erskine said about his upcoming climb of K2. "Not knowing what I might be getting myself in for. But I believe there's no turning back now."

Erskine is on a seven to eight-day trek through Pakistan to reach the base camp of K2, also known as Mount Godwin-Austen and Chhogori.

The mountain straddles the China-Pakistan border, rising to 8,611 meters. More climbers have died on it than on Mount Everest.

Location of K2:

Statistics show the mountain has a death rate of 25.8 %, compared with Mount Everest which has a death rate of 2.05%.

"If you sit back and think about it, you are pretty hard pressed to find an activity that has a 30-per-cent death rate," Erskine said in an interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.

      • Memory of deadly Nepal earthquake keeping climbers away from Everest

"Everything about K2 is a lot more difficult than Everest," Erskine said. "The trek in is more than twice the distance. K2 is a lot steeper, a lot more ice holes, a lot more avalanches. You know there were a couple of years no one summited K2 because of the ice conditions."


Stuart Erskine anchors his ropes on a glacier near one of the base camps as he ascends to the summit of Everest. (Submitted)

Erskine said there is more information available about climbing Everest and climbers can access more support and rescue services.  

In the last two years, Erskine has climbed the Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, including Denali and Kilimanjaro. Already this year, he's completed a ski trip to the South Pole and climbed Mount Everest.

Erskine only started climbing in the last two years. He first started challenging himself to get into shape by running half marathons and quickly graduated to ultra-marathons.

He stumbled across some photos of a friend's successful climbs of the Seven Summits.

"I saw it and I said, 'You know what I am going to do that,' " Erskine said. "For me it was a good accomplishment."

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