Mingma Reaches K2’s House Chimney; Purja, Others Begin Trek to Base Camp

K2 Winter 8000ers
Climbers at the Skardu airport yesterday. Photo: Carlos Garranzo

The first days of winter have seen relatively good weather in northern Pakistan, permitting a large group of Western climbers to fly to Skardu on Tuesday, rather than drive, as they usually do. After an all-day drive to Askole today, they plan to start trekking on Christmas Eve. If progress up the Baltoro is similar to that in summer, they will celebrate New Year’s Eve in Base Camp.

The hike to K2 Base Camp

Map: k2basecamptrekking.com

The trek from Askole to K2 Base Camp usually takes six to seven days of gradual but relentless uphill, with stops at Jhola (3,000m altitude, after 21km), Paiju (20km, 3,450m), Khoburste (15km, 3,930m), Urdukas (12km, 4,130m), Goro (12km, 4,350m), Concordia and finally Base Camp — breathtaking both in its views and thin air — at 5,100m on a crevassed glacier.

Meanwhile, on K2

The all-Sherpa team of Mingma G, Dawa Tenzin, and Kili Pemba Sherpa have made impressive progress on their first rotation up the mountain. They reached Camp 1 on Monday; yesterday, they continued up to the base of House Chimney at 6,600m, the first technical landmark on K2’s Abruzzi Spur route. Now they are back in BC, resting.

One of Mingma G’s tents at Base Camp.

After keeping his cards close to his chest for weeks, Nirmal Purja shared details of his Winter K2 expedition on Monday, just before starting the trek to BC. Purja states that he will lead a team of six, including climbers and a camera crew. “We also have other climbers joining us at Base Camp, but they will be there to train at the lower camps…building experience and knowledge,” he said.

About the other teams on the mountain, Purja added: “If there is room for collaboration, then we will work together. I will be leading the fixing team.” Climbing sources have told ExplorersWeb that Purja and his team are included in the SST permit.

Nirmal Purja’s K2 team. Photo: Nirmal Purja

Once everyone arrives at BC, attention will turn toward the general strategy for fixing the Abruzzi Spur route and how to coordinate the climbers, both would-be summiters and those intending to gain experience on the peak’s lower sections. In particular, how will everyone juggle the partial rotations to Advanced Base Camp, C1, and C2, where room for tents is scarce.

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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12 Comments on "Mingma Reaches K2’s House Chimney; Purja, Others Begin Trek to Base Camp"

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Rosie
Guest

Can’t believe people are going to winter K2 with no intention of going to the summit (or supporting someone who is). Isn’t there any other mountain they could go hang out at, where they won’t be taking up limited space?

mijares
Guest

What I like most about these expeditions to K2 is the spirit of camaraderie and the total absence of wanting to be the first to conquer the summit. It is seen that they all go together to the top, as if it does not matter who arrives first. The races and egos have remained in history. Here is the proof! I’m sure that in case of need everyone will go as one soul to help. What can go wrong…

Stephen Frank
Guest

Yeah I was thinking same thing. They will skip to the top holding hands!

Poly
Guest

I wish them luck…a lot of luck.
God bless!

Sammy
Guest

More climbers the better for the ones who get into trouble I guess. Hope the rescue helicopters and the brave pilots are standing ready. Ultimately hope all goes well for all.

Paul
Guest

I am not sure that more climbers the better, specially lots of climbers without experience could cause troubles. And the rescues helicopter in winter Karakorum is very problematic, just to remand the Russian Winter K2 expeditions in 2011/12 when Vitaliy Gorelik die in Base Camp. He suffered severe frostbite during an attempt to fix ropes above 7000, after that was waiting for few days in Base Camp for medevac but the helicopters couldn’t fly because of bad weather.

Nat
Guest

He actually died at BC because of that. Other than frost bite he had pulmonry edema.

Don Paul
Guest

According to Carlos Garanzo in the 7 Summits group, they were able to take a jeep past the Askole camp about 7 more hours, and cut a day off their trekking. They’re in a camp he called Jhola Camp but I dont see it on the map. On his map it looks like where Askole is on your map, but he says they’re a day past it. They’re looking at the weather window at the end of Dec and it seems like they will blast up the route as soon as they can.

Ghulam Hassan Shigri
Guest

K2 Ka Pakistan
Pakistan ki Shan
Shigar ki PEHCHAN
K2 KA PAKISTAN

Walid Hamadeh
Guest

Angela, Thank you for plugging in the Map Route. Cheers

Steve
Guest

Does anyone know how I would go about getting one of the K2 Purja expid hats? Or any other expedition items?I run a veterans charity at my Legion hall and would love to raffle items for kids charities , and to get people interested more in climbing. Thank you for any assistance you can offer!