Winter K2: From Savage to Crowded?

K2 may triple its population this upcoming winter, compared to last winter's. Photo: Mingma G

While the prospect of a winter K2 expedition was encouraging after a nearly blank climbing season, the 45 members (and counting) on Seven Summit Treks’ project has started to seem like too much of a good thing.

Now Mingma Gyalje, aka Mingma G, says he intends to return to winter K2 despite a bitter experience with a small group of clients last year. “We learned too many lessons,” he claims. So this time, he will climb only with highly experienced Sherpas, including Dawa Tenzing Sherpa and Kilu Pemba Sherpa — no clients. The expedition still needs to crowdfund $47,500 for expenses.

Mingma G is ready to fight Round 2 against Winter K2 with an all-Sherpa team.

Meanwhile, one of Mingma G’s clients from last year also wants to try K2 with the valuable help of Ali Sadpara, one of the most seasoned winter Karakorum climbers. The expedition is yet to be confirmed.

Finally, Alan Arnette reminds us that Nirmal Purja recently expressed interest in climbing the mountain in winter without supplementary O2. Nims is currently promoting his book and has not committed to anything.

So, COVID restrictions permitting, nearly 50 climbers plus BC staff may besiege the mountain by early January. Most of them will be on their first winter 8,000m experience, hardly an encouraging statistic. As previous attempts have made clear, progress will only be possible with every climber’s collaboration. Internal quarrels have figured in all the recent failed attempts. And then, there’s the weather.

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Good luck …if you succeed you will be famous but the porters who carried your first world kit to base amp will go back living in relative poverty . When you pay them Make sure you take into account their future well being and not just yours .