K2 Gong Show Continues

In Barcelona yesterday, Sergi Mingote detailed the Abruzzi Spur route that he and his SST team will follow on K2. Photo: Sergi Mingote

“The commercialization of alpinism consists of selling extraordinary first ascents to ordinary people,” Jost Kobusch told ExplorersWeb two weeks ago about the Winter K2 attempts. “I don’t doubt some will be skilled and experienced, but it’s hard to believe that in such a large group, all of them are.”

As more participants make their ambitions public, his words seem prescient. The latest additions point to possible clients of Nirmal Purja, who is now acclimatizing in Nepal and will head to Pakistan by Christmas.

Training with him for K2 is Canadian Marie Pierre Desharnais, 35. Desharnais intends to “elevate the female footprint” by summiting five peaks (Everest, K2, Ojos del Salado, Vinson, and Sidley) within a year. Her website is out of date, however, since her project was meant for 2020. It is not clear whether she has climbed any of the peaks on her list. A picture with Nirmal Purja, below, shows her on the summit of Ama Dablam last year, when the expedition controversially wrapped the mountain in a Kuwaiti flag.

Desharnais with Nirmal Purja on Ama Dablam last year. Photo: Marie Desharnais

Meanwhile, a 19-year-old (!) British woman, Adriana Brownlee, claims that she is joining Purja’s team as well.

Originally aiming for Everest, Adriana Brownlee practiced her ladder-crossing techniques during lockdown (yes, the manufacturer of the vehicle is one of her sponsors). Photo: Adriana Brownlee

On her website, Adriana Brownlee explains that she’s been knocking about the mountains with her father since she was nine, that she climbed Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, and Aconcagua in 2019, that she is going to Everest in spring as part of her Seven Summits challenge, and today on IG, that she is leaving for Pakistan in nine days for Winter K2. Purja has not confirmed his clients, and although Brownlee links to his Elite Himalayan Adventures website, it is hard to believe that Purja would take on this sort of responsibility.

Snorri and Ali Sadpara at the top of the fixed ropes yesterday on K2. Photo: John Snorri

Back to reality, John Snorri and the Sadparas fixed the route to Camp 1 at 6,000m yesterday: “It was sunny for part of the day and -25ºC,” Snorri reported. The climbers then retreated to ABC for the night. “[Today] we will head back to Base Camp because we are totally exhausted,” Snorri added, although the relatively good weather is forecast to continue until the weekend.

Mingma G has just arrived in BC, and Seven Summit Treks’ first Sherpa team is on its way to the Baltoro. Snorri’s and the Sadparas’ days of owning the mountain are almost over.

Despite the brief sunny window, the overall outlook is gloomy, with a poor weather forecast for the next several days. It was -17ºC last night in Skardu, and the BBC reports upcoming temps down to -46ºC at Base Camp. International climbers may get a taste of what faces them on K2 from the moment they start trekking. Most fly to Islamabad today or tomorrow.

Magdalena Gordkowska interviewed on her way to Islamabad today. Photo: Magdalena Gordkowska

While most begin their expeditions, a few are just wrapping up theirs. Stef Maginelle and Sophie Lenaerts are back in the “wifi zone” after their skiing trip to Hispar-Biafo. Further details about their successful adventure are expected soon.

Sophie Lenaerts and Stef Maginelle in Biafo-Hispar. Photo: Stef Maginelle

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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15 Comments on "K2 Gong Show Continues"

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Damien François
Guest

A 19 year old girl practising crossing ladders before attempting K2 in winter? Am I dreaming?

Jake
Guest

The photos were from when she was preparing for her Everest trip – which has been postponed (understandably) till next year. All the ladders on K2 are vertical!

Damien François
Guest
I know, I know, my Everest guide and friend Jamling Bhote, who summited K2 twice, told me. And so did Alan Arnette. And so did Pemba Gyalchen. I once thought of going to K2 myself, but, even though I did very well on Everest and summited on May 23rd 2019 https://www.nepalitimes.com/here-now/because-we-are-there/ https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/overkill-on-everest/ I now think I’m not strong enough, despite having 21 expeditions in Nepal (from Mera to Everest) under my belt. My dream mountain is Kangchenjunga. But I will certainly never attempt to climb Kantsch, it is supposed to be even harder than K2. Andrew Lock explained it well.… Read more »
Damien François
Guest
Cqfd: she has never been at 8.000 m… That is scary, considering she wants to attempt K2 in… winter! Don’t get me wrong: It’s not personal, I don’t know her and I wish her well. But this boldness is concerning. I have seen 8 dead people on Everest in 3 days in 2019 and have lost about 10 climbers I knew: It’s ALWAYS a drama, but it becomes unbearable when people have to risk their lives to save other under qualified or unfit people. I just read Nims’ book and must say that I sincerely wish him to be the… Read more »
Tony Brownlee
Member
Hi – Adriana is not going for a summit of K2. She is on the expedition to gain extreme winter experience as part of her prep for Everest in Spring 2021. Only if conditions are favourable will she aim for one of the intermediate camps. She has been climbing since the age of 9 and has slowly built up her resume of experience of climbing, altitude and endurance. In all achievements to date she has performed beyond expectations and always acts responsibly and with maturity. She will learn and grow as a mountaineer tremendously on this expedition without putting herself… Read more »
Trish
Guest

Thank you Tony for that explanation! She will indeed gain valuable experience with this K2 trip.

Tony Brownlee
Member

Thanks Trish.

Jerry Kobalenko
Admin

Thanks, we’ll clarify that in our next update. But do you think she’ll get out of Base Camp, considering how small some of those tent platforms are and how many ambitious would-be summiters will be competing for that space?

Tony Brownlee
Member

Thanks Jerry. Adriana’s work ethic means she muck in and work hard at base camp and if and when opportunities arise during the next 2 months to ascend safely to a higher camp I’m sure she will do this in line with wider expedition logistics. Look forward to your next updates.

Damien François
Guest

Any real alpinist has that ethic ;-))
Be safe.

Damien François
Guest

Good so! We didn’t know… Best of luck! See you, her in the hills.

Tony Brownlee
Member

Thanks Damien 👍

Tony Brownlee
Member

Thanks Angela – appreciated. 👌

lol
Guest

from Nirmal Purja’s instagram: “There has been some shitty articles from uncredited sources written about my #k2winter exped Few people and so called ‘media’ seem to act as if they know what they are talking about putting incorrect information from the comfort of their warm couch at home. You don’t know anything about my plans”.