Kaltenbrunner fails at K2 once more as Swede dies

Austrian climber Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner has abandoned her attempt to scale K2 after a Swedish colleague fell to his death this morning (Fri).Kaltenbrunner, 39, was hoping to reach the top of the 8,611-metre mountain in the Pakistani-Chinese border region after five previously failed attempts over the past few years.Karl Gabl of the Austrian Centre for Meteorology and Geodynamics’ (ZAMG) Tyrolean department announced that Kaltenbrunner’s fellow hiker Fredrik Ericsson was killed after he fell around 1,000 metres off a cliff this morning.Gabl, who provided the team with up-to-the-minute weather information on their expedition, added that Kaltenbrunner’s German husband Ralf Dujmovits had already returned to the base camp yesterday worrying about falling rocks.The meteorologist added Kaltenbrunner – whose 2009 book “Ganz bei mir: Leidenschaft Achttausender” became a bestseller – was on her way to the base camp with two or three colleagues when the accident happened.The Upper Austrian would have been only the third woman in the world to conquer the world’s 14 highest summits. South Korean Oh Eun-Sun achieved that goal earlier this year, with Spanish climber Edurne Pasaban following just weeks later.Another group led by Styrian extreme mountain climber Christian Stangl also abandoned their bid to scale the world’s second-highest mountain earlier today.He informed his friends and family in Austria via satellite phone: “Snow is falling and avalanches keep coming down. We were lucky not to be hit by one of the many falling rocks on our way up. Now we have stopped our attempt and are returning to base camp.”Stangl stressed his health mattered more to him than reaching the summit of the mountain which is considered to be the most difficult to scale in the world.