K2 Summit Tally Spikes From Zero to 24

8000ers K2 Mountain
Nirmal Purja begins his descent from the summit of K2. Photo: Bremont Project Possible

Patience paid off for the K2 climbers who remained on the mountain after the first summit attempt failed last week because of dangerous conditions. A total of 19 people — a fraction of the 120 climbers who first showed up at K2 this season — reached the top between 3am and 8am Pakistan time today.

Nirmal Purja and four others had already summited the day before, bringing the total number of climbers to 24. Moreover, it seems that no one turned back, giving a rare success rate of 100%.

Below, the list of July 25 summiters, outfitted by Seven Summit Treks:

1. Maximo Gustavo Kausch Serantes M Argentina 🇦🇷
2. Karina Ragazzo Oliani F Brasil 🇧🇷
3. Stefanov Stefan Ivanov M Bulgaria 🇧🇬
4. Moeses Fiamoncini M Brasil 🇧🇷
5. David Roeske M USA 🇺🇸
6. Klara Kolouchova F Czech Republic 🇨🇿
7. Herbert Diethelm Hellmuth M Germany 🇩🇪
8. Johann Wenzl M Austria 🇦🇹
9. Kowalewski Waldemar Dominik M Poland🇵🇱
10. TEMBA BHOTE M Nepal 🇳🇵
11. KASANG DAWA SHERPA M Nepal 🇳🇵
12. NGIMA DORCHI SHERPA M Nepal 🇳🇵
13. NGIMA THENDUK SHERPA M Nepal 🇳🇵
14. CHHEPAL SHERPA M Nepal 🇳🇵
15. MING TEMBA SHERPA M Nepal 🇳🇵
16. Dilawar M Pakistan 🇵🇰
17. Sazed M Pakistan 🇵🇰
18. Yousuf M Pakistan 🇵🇰
19. Anja Karena Blacha-Germany 🇩🇪

File photo of Carla Perez of Ecuador, who summited K2 without bottled O2 yesterday. She also made it to the top of Everest, above, earlier this year.

As for yesterday’s summiters, Adrian Ballinger, Carla Perez and their team descended from Camp 4 today and are back in Base Camp. Purja already sped back to BC yesterday. After letting his boots and down suit dry for a couple of hours, he left for Broad Peak. He plans to climb up to Camp 2 today and reach the summit … tomorrow! All this was posted on his social media under the hashtag #norush. It’s good to see that Purja’s PR team has finally developed a sense of humor.

This was also a triumph for Seven Summit Treks, the Nepalese outfitter which been criticized because of the large size of its teams and the low bar they set for their clients’ past experience.

Lessons to learn?

Having the resources and personnel for a second summit try was key. Two other factors also made success possible. One, the extraordinarily good weather. There were even some convenient winds last weekend that swept away the troublesome snow above 8,000m. Two, the inspirational force of Nirmal Purja and his strong Sherpa team. He was absolutely determined to summit K2 on his record quest, and he and his party went first to break trail, fix ropes and serve as guinea pigs in the avalanche zones.

While Purja’s physical power is amazing, he is primarily a soldier rather than a mountaineer. His approach is not unlike that of the national expeditions that first tackled the 8,000’ers early in the 20th century. Here, Purja led a small army and applied military tactics and leadership to the mountain.

The question is, however, whether such tactics become the new norm among the listers — those stringing together a series of climbs, usually at speed. In the 21st century, with nothing left to conquer on the 8000’ers normal routes, each expedition will have to decide whether it is necessary or even wise to follow such methods.

The age of the Conquistadors of the Useless brought glory to a few, but it also led to many deaths on the mountains for the sake of a egoistic goal. Even today, some climbers will end up in Wikipedia, others with their names carved on a plate at the Gilkey memorial for dead climbers near K2 Base Camp.

Lino Lacedelli, the first man on the summit of K2, in 1954. The feat brought glory to Italy but also had a dark side: A bitter controversy ensued about the expedition tactics and the leaders’ behaviour toward Walter Bonatti and a porter who lost all his fingers when both were left outside for the night at 8,000m. Lacedelli and Compagnoni refused to help them, to avoid jeopardizing their summit chances the following day. Lacedelli apologized to Bonatti 50 years later, only to meet the latter’s bitter refusal to forgive and, least of all, forget.

Related story:

K2 Summits!

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Sport journalist, published author and communication consultant. Feeling back home at ExplorersWeb after five years exploring distant professional ranges.

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13 Comments on "K2 Summit Tally Spikes From Zero to 24"

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Delwyne L Trefz
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I’m curious about the “small army” and “military tactics” you state Nims using on K2. Are the 4 Sherpas who helped him fix the top of the route the “small army” you refer to, or were there more? Any additional details would be appreciated! Am hoping your comments are more than simply adding to the nit-picking going on in obvious efforts to minimize what Nims is accomplishing.
Thank-you!

Not an Everest climber
Guest
Not an Everest climber

Lessons to learn? Well, for one, don’t sign up for K2 just because you’re going to be guided up by Sherpas/HAPs.
Congrats to all those who summitted; truly impressive! Good riddance to the commercial clowns who left. People can now see who the real climbers are.

Please Guide Me Up
Guest

4/20 of those summitteers are people who should not have been on the mountain. They got guided up. I checked out their Instagram and sure enough big egotistical, self-absorbed knobs are what I see (unless I’m looking at the mirror 😉 )

Craig Quigley
Guest

Thanks for the article. But I disagree with your point about therebeing nothing left to achieve on the 8000s. That discussion can be had, once k2 has seen a winter summit.

Max Madera
Guest
I also find it a bit unfair from Angela. Certainly what she says about Nims could be said of most of the best 8000 climbers. They have more of physically and mentally strong, endurance athletes, than of skilled, high-grade climbers. From what Nims recounts of his climbs, he is part of the group of the rope fixers (one among the “small” army in Angela’s words), rather than one of the followers: those who come after the Sherpas carrying half of the weight. I wonder what words would Angela use for them. But I certainly agree with Angela in finding quite… Read more »
Damien Francois
Guest

Looks like he’s done the 11th! (at the bottom, 11 = green)
https://projectpossible.co.uk/
This is magic. Unbelievable.
Jaya himal, ayo Nirmal!

Zoli
Guest

Hello,
Szilárd Suhajda from Hungary also summited this day, why is he missing from the list?

Not an Everest climber
Guest
Not an Everest climber

Because he doesn’t have an Instagram profile. Only climbers with an Instagram profile count these days…