Winter K2: Nepalese Team Clinches Race To Top

10 Nepalese climbers made history after becoming the first to summit K2 in winter, according to reports from ongoing K2 expeditions.

“We did it,” said Seven Summit Treks, the trekking company which led the ascent, in a statement on Twitter.

Dozens of mountaineers have been competing over the past few weeks to summit the world's second highest mountain, the last peak above 8,000 meters that remained to be topped in wintertime.

Dubbed as the 'Savage Mountain', K2 witnessed a record climbing activity in winter. The 8,611m mountain is about 200m less than Everest but is widely considered the most demanding of the big mountains.

K2 - Photo: Ralf Dujmovits

Last year Iceland's John Snorri with Nepal's famous Mingma G and his team aborted their winter expedition. This year John teamed with native veteran climbers Mohammed Ali Sadpara, 44 and his son Sajid Sadpara, 21 arrived first at the base camp in early December. Ali Sadpara was part of the team made first ever winter summit on Nanga Parbat.

Later Mingma G and his team mates followed up on the base camp too. Also Chhang Dawa Sherpa and his team of 27 sherpas from Nepal and 23 men and women from European joined the action. Sharpa Nirmal Purga who is also a former Gurkha and claims many of high altitude mountaineering records also reached the base camp.

Last week, different groups made rotation and acclimatization trips up to Camp 1, Camp 2 and Camp 3 but all returned back to the base camp as the window of feasible weather ended.

While they rested at base camp high winds of up to 120 kmph destroyed most of their laid infrastructure and tents on advance camps which Nirmal Purja called “wreckage site” upon climbing back to Camp 2 in the next weather opportunity.

“We have lost everything,” he said. “Sleeping bags, mattresses, heated shoe insoles, summit gloves/mittens, summit base layers, paragliding equipment, cooking equipment, etc.”

While this ended the campaign for some groups, Mingma G, Dawa Sherpa and Nirmal Purja joined hands making a group of 10 veteran climbers to attempt the summit with whatever they had left.

The summit team that left Camps 3 and 4 included Mingma G, with Dawa Tenzing and Kilu Sherpa; Nirmal Purja, with Mingma Gyabu “David” Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa; and Sona Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks.

The team had to break trail and fix ropes along the way. The final push took several hours longer than expected. They will now have to descend in the dark.

In a tragic turn of events climber Sergi Mingote died from injuries sustained in a long fall somewhere below Camp 1, according to Seven Summit Treks leader Dawa Sherpa. His tracker shows a fall of nearly 600m.

John Snorri's GPS shows that he, Sajid and Ali Sadpara are probably back to the base camp.


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