K2: Chaos at Camp 2

Purja climbs to Camp 2 in fine weather. Photo: Nirmal Purja

After a week at Base Camp waiting for the storm winds to drop, Nirmal Purja and company hurried to Camp 2 today, only to find tents and equipment destroyed and blown away. Likewise, Sergi Mingote seems to have lost his tent at Camp 1. Some expeditions may even be in jeopardy of ending prematurely.

While Purja had expected some damage from the winds up to 120kph in recent days, he wasn’t expecting to find what he called a “wreckage site”.

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

Why paragliding equipment, you may ask? It seems that Purja wants to paraglide from the summit of K2, if he gets there.

Now back at Base Camp, he wrote dispiritedly, “ I am devastated to be breaking this news. Now I have to reassess and re-plan everything.”

There is no news about Mingma G’s tent and gear, which is located a little higher than Purja’s at “Upper” Camp 2. But last night, Mingma G remarkably revealed that most of his team’s equipment was stashed at Camp 2, so that if his camp faces devastation similar to Purja’s, “We are done to go back home.”

Shredded tents at Camp 2 on another K2 expedition years earlier. Photo: Alan Arnette

Climbers with experience on K2 pointed out online today that Camp 2 is particularly exposed and that tents are regularly destroyed there, even in summer.

Expedition in doubt?

Meanwhile, Sergi Mingote’s tent appears to have been lost at Camp 1. He is also rightly concerned that a backpack he anchored at Camp 2 may also have been whisked away. The pack includes sleeping bags, a stove, fuel, food, and more. The securely anchored pack may have survived, but if not, “it looks bad. Very bad,” Mingote wrote somberly this afternoon. “So now, at 1700h, when the night has already taken over Base Camp, all are doubts. Tonight we will take the final decision. This is winter K2.”

Given that hurricane winds are not uncommon on K2 in winter, it begs the question: Was this poor planning by this season’s main protagonists, or just unfortunate timing?

Elsewhere in the Himalaya, Seven Summit Treks report a successful winter ascent of Ama Dablam (6,812m) by the three Sherpas fixing ropes, with two clients in tow. More guided climbers will follow up soon.

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK. He juggles a day job as a public health scientist with a second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in national newspapers, international magazines, and various websites. Bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

Read more at www.ashrouten.com

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38 Comments on "K2: Chaos at Camp 2"

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Don Paul
Guest

The Alan Arnette picture shows shredded tents, but Nims found his tents and equipment completely gone. I think Mingma is saying the same thing, that he thinks his equipment is gone. Was there an avalanche there maybe? Or how were the tents in this other picture held down so they were shredded instead of flying away?

Steve
Guest

Alan’s photo was from the summer

Don Paul
Guest

I have to agree with Adam below, it’s not the kind of mistake that inspires confidence.

Jenifer
Guest

A lot of time in article they use stock photos if past pictures that fit. But my though we are ruining these mountains because climbers leaving crap around. If you bring it up you should have to bring it down again. MT Everest is a mess with old climbing supplies all over the place. It look like trash dump. Hardly what I call respect of the world greatest mountains.

Damien François
Guest

Have you climbed Everest? I mean have you seen it with your own eyes or are you just repeating what msm is pretending?
Tell the PAngboche and Tengboche abbotts to stop giving blessings to climbers, then.

Caroline Russell
Guest

Where are you getting that he found everything gone? He said it was a “wreckage site.” That suggests visible destruction, not an absence of the equipment.

Jennifer
Guest

Nims posted this info on Instagram.

Don Paul
Guest

I don’t remember, I’m following them on social media. What I wrote is true. Their tents and equipment are gone.

Awais
Guest

Good question

Trish
Guest

Thoughts? Can everyone in BC who is not summiting give equipment to Mingma and Nims. Is it possible? Can everyone rally to help them out?

Matthew Costa
Guest

Nims deserves it not the 02 doping douches searching for social media glory.

MinorMusic
Guest

Question, are they going to try and find their gear so they can take all their stuff and trash off the mountain when they are done? I haven’t heard anything about it.

Twinkletoes
Guest

Not a chance… hardly anyone does anything of the sort in good conditions on easier mountains, let alone K2 in winter. Besides, the gear will be scattered so far and wide, it would simply not be possible

Not a K2 climber
Guest

Hope Nims can get the required resources to deliver his “justice” as he claimed on social media. Would be a shame for him to talk big and not deliver. I think Nims and gang are the only team who can summit winter K2. Good luck everyone!

Ann Wood
Guest

Will all this damaged equipment ever be recovered from the mountain.
I would hope that efforts will be made ‘to leave only footprints’.

Damien François
Guest
Exaggerated virtue signalling and political correctness seem to be everywhere, even on K2 Winter… They should not go up again to try and retrieve some fabric or look for a ip-gas container all over if it’s too dangerous! C’mon, stop being so overly “angelic”. Idealism kills, realism is the right way to look at things, especially in high-altitude: There will always some traces, when humans pass through some place. We must do our best but not perform suicide for a piece of fabric. Of course, everything that is to be packed out should be, but, I repeat, all this exaggerated… Read more »
Anya
Guest

Well said my friend , sheer bloody madness to go back for what is in all likelihood strewn far and wide by now , totally agree with all you say Damien.

Doug
Guest

Another viewpoint is that the environmental disregard of high altitude mountaineers is disgraceful. The majestic beauty of these mountains draw the climbers to them, and the climbers make little to no attempt to clean up after themselves. Mount Everest is the worst example, but it’s increasingly a problem throughout the Himalayas.

Damien François
Guest
This is a cliché!Have you been on Everest? Let me quote from my article “Stop Trashing Everest”: “Some have argued for a moratorium on Everest climbs to allow the mountain to ‘cleanse itself’. As the author of the book The Holy Mountains of Nepal, I have some credentials to say that it is all right to climb sacred mountains. Mountains are made holy and sacred by humans. If those humans who decide which mountain is holy are comfortable with climbing these mountains, why do Western neo-imperialists declare that they should not be climbed? Are the abbots of Tengboche and Pangboche… Read more »
Doug
Guest

Sadly, there is zero connection between high stakes mountaineering and concern — let alone action — for environmental protection.

Adam
Guest

It is an example of bad planning, due to lack of winter experience. It is a way surprising, as multiple teams who attempted K2 in previous years reported this happening. They even mentioned they always bring all of their equipment DOWN after every rotation, to keep it safe.

Usman
Guest

It’s not bad planning, as we know world best climbers more than 50, they start with well plan nirmal fixed rope in quick time as we know K2 weather window open for short period of time and within this time period they did good job but this is k2 challenging climbers to go away.

Faraz
Guest

Not an extra ordinary news if we talk about K2 winter. Experience matters a lot than to be strong enough for summit. They sent heavy loads to upper camps without knowing what winds in winter capable of doing on K2.

Chogoree
Guest

That’s why K2 is known as the king of mountains.

Damien François
Guest

You are politically incorrect! You should write “queen”! ;-)))

Lauren
Guest

I am green to all this. What does it mean to ” take the final decision” ? When everything NEEDED to continue has been lost&/or destroyed..isnt the decision already made? How is it possible to continue w/out survival supplies?

Damien François
Guest

A tent is not a life. A tent can be replaced… Got it? 🙂
Camps can be rebuilt if there is enough logistical means, energy, time and weather goo enough to do so. Usually there are spare tents, stoves, food supplies, etc. at BC.
After the earthquake and avalanche on Everest in 2015, there was so much destruction at EBC that many teams indeed had not enough “survival supplies”, as you put, to carry on.

Jenifer
Guest
Yea but if those supplies were up there they are gone. Meaning they have to bring those supplies back up. There is not excuse though why those supplies cannot be carried back down either as the sherpa and climbers come back down. If you can bring it up you can bring it down or pay to have the sherpa do it. My feeling these climbers are basically getting the fame, but the sherpa are running up down that mountain with supplies and rarely credited for 90% of the success of these climbers. No sherpas then the climber could not do… Read more »
Shaun Plumbly
Guest

This is bad news, as per usual K2 lives up to its reputation as the Savage Mountain. I wonder what has happened to the Sadparas and John Snorris gear?

Adil
Guest

Sign of inexperience and just the rush of being the FIRST. A more sensible and experienced climber would know that this is the norm on k2. Come on Nims this is not everest, this is k2 and is know as the SAVAGE MOUNTAIN for a reason.

Chris Taylor
Guest

Can’t wait to read about the Ama Dablam summit. Good luck on K2. Stay safe.

Raacho Trekkers
Guest

I wonder why Sergi is carrying wood high up the Camp 2?

Mansoor Shahab
Guest

Must be the yetti

Maritza Gonzalez
Guest

I believe the sherpas clean all the debris left behind at Mt.Everest years ago. They need to do the same on these beautiful mountains and take care of Mother Earth. I hope they find a way to make the expedition a success.

Twinkletoes
Guest

I have to say I’m also a little surprised that they put up tents. I’m not up to date on himalayism, but afaik the winter winds will wreck anything that isn’t packed down tight… Lesson learned, I guess?

Damien François
Guest

Off topic, but somehow same same! ;-))
Again, this pic of “Everest from KTM during lockdown in MAy” raises a few questions:
This can’t be Everest: The ridge from South Summit to summit would be a few hundred meters long! Besides, where are Lhotse and Nuptse?
https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/dirty-politics-dirty-air/
Anyone an idea?

Damien François
Guest

Also, Everest is some 150 km EAST/NORTH EAST of KTM. If this pic is taken from KTM towards the E/N-E, we should see the Bhaktapur area, and the plains between KTM and Bhaktapur!