K2: First Winter Summit!

K2 Sherpa Winter 8000ers
The successful summit team. Photo: Seven Summit Treks

An all-Nepali team of 10 climbers became the first to reach the summit of K2 in winter this afternoon. Stepping onto the summit together at 5 pm local time (7am Eastern time, 12pm GMT), they claimed a historic first for the Nepali climbing community, as K2 had been the only 8,000m peak unclimbed in winter. The lead climbers waited for the rest to join them and they all reached the top together, singing Nepal’s national anthem.

The summit team that left Camps 3 and 4 included Mingma G, with Dawa Tenzing and Kilu Sherpa; Nirmal Purja, with Mingma Gyabu “David” Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa; and Sona Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks.

K2 summit climbers seen through a camera at Base Camp. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

The team had to break trail and fix ropes along the way. The final push took several hours longer than expected. They will now have to descend in the dark.

All attention now focuses on the descent and the safe return of the climbers to the lower camps. We’ll keep you posted with further details as we receive them, especially when everyone is safely down. For now, it’s time to congratulate the team on this amazing first.

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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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Dave @ Accidental FIRE

Wow, so awesome, and so great that Nepali Sherpas are the first to do this. They’re beasts!

+1
nat
nat
1 month ago

no with suplemented oxygen not a beasts !

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guwinster
guwinster
1 month ago
Reply to  nat

Your legs are just too weak to carry the weight of oxygen bottles.

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Marlon
Marlon
1 month ago
Reply to  nat

the wind and cold danger alone makes this super impressive

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Lorcan
Lorcan
1 month ago

Epic, this has kept me alive these past few weeks. I’m wishing them the best on their descent. Fingers crossed.

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Marius Lindgren
Marius Lindgren
1 month ago

Whether they used supplemental oxygen or not, I hope everyone can agree that, as long as they return safely, this is one of the greatest climbs in mountaineering history. I’ve been following this expedition since the beginning. I was very worried about the bad weather in early January and I was expecting the expedition to be over when Camp 2 was blown away. Climbing an 8000er in the winter is one of the hardest things you can do and doing it on K2 has truly been the last significant uncompleted challenge of the Himalayas. Until now!

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Damien François
Damien François
1 month ago

Well said! I have been attacked here many times for stating exactly this.
Wonderful, Nepali team, dheira dherira ramro ho! I am extremely happy, especially for Nims and Geljen, a friend!

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Sid
Sid
1 month ago

Considering how previous teams have fared in the past, and the relative, no-nonsense ease with which they moved up the mountain, with or without O2, their climb is astonishing.

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Joe
Joe
1 month ago

It is a great achievement by the Nepali team without doubt. However the issue of bottled oxygen is relevant, if we want to speak about “one of the greatest climbs in history”. Perhaps an uncomfortable truth for some, but we owe that to other great mountaineers who attempted it, including the Poles.

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Emilio Kyprianou
Emilio Kyprianou
1 month ago

Karma rewarding the countless Nepalese who helped us westerners get to the top. Now Karma gives them the greatest prize of all. NAMASTE

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Farukh Ali
Farukh Ali
1 month ago

Congratulations to the Sherpa. Amazing teamwork. Official timing of the summit is 5 PM local. Sun is already down. I hope they all make it to C4 safely.

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Razvan
Razvan
1 month ago
Reply to  Farukh Ali

That’s the challenge now indeed – for them all to return back safe. Anyhow, this achievement is huge and deserves all congratulations!

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F v
F v
1 month ago

What an amazing achievement. Hope they all return safely to BC. Also praying for Sergi.

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Gary Taylor-Fletcher
Gary Taylor-Fletcher
1 month ago

I wonder if Nepal or China would execute anyone who tried to summit Gangkar Punseum.. There are rumors in Lancashire UK that there is a group of pasty white guys with minimal experience who are going to try to pirate this mountain when Covid dies down..

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Teko
Teko
1 month ago

Gangkar Punseum is in Bhutan.

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Ronald
Ronald
1 month ago

Great to see them all summit together. A bit late so hope they get down safely in the dark. My bet is, this will be the only summit this winter, good to see the sherpa’s bag this first ascent. Good luck climbing down

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Michael gruber
Michael gruber
1 month ago

That went fast, amazing feat, congratulation.

They let it looks easy from the outside.

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Don Paul
Don Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael gruber

They made it look so easy. They got down in the dark before anyone even knew what happened. I like the way they waited for the last ones and worked as a team, instead of everyone being out for themselves. The Nepali nationalism was kind of weird though. There are already enough other countries fighting over control of Kashmir, lol.

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Dor
Dor
1 month ago
Reply to  Don Paul

You wouldn’t complain about any other team or climbers bringing flags and mentioning their countries when summiting would you? I don’t think it had anything to do with local geopolitics?

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Razvan
Razvan
1 month ago

Wonder if they’ll spend the night somewhere up there and continue descent only in the morning…
Also, it looks Nims canceled his paragliding plans (or the earlier storm already destroyed them?). Glad he reached summit anyway, along with all brave Sherpas!

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Don Paul
Don Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Razvan

Eight of them stayed at C3 and 2 were going down to BC. I was also hoping to see Nims paraglide off, but I bet he realized he couldn’t do that and still lead his group back to safety. That guy is a serious commander.

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Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Why did he take it up the mountain in the first place then?

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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Joe

He may not have. The paragliding equipment was lost in the windstorm a few days ago, and I haven’t heard if it was replaced. Even if he did, paragliding in the dark may not work.

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ALEX
ALEX
1 month ago

Most of the serios names in climbing have said that O2 decreases height for more than 1000 meters, so I’m not sure if this was necessary to do it with supplementakl O2… Train and work harder, and the result will come. If Everest can be climbed without O2, why then K2 can’t? But as someone said, Nims is ready to take his glove off and get a bump on his finger in order to take a photo and share it on social networks. It’s not sport it’s marketing. Waiting for Denis Urubko, Don Bowie or someone else to have a… Read more »

With_or_Without_02
With_or_Without_02
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

They fixed their own lines, carried their own supplies, and Mingma G is supposed to have climbed without 02. Some people can’t seem to appreciate this achievement. Moreover, there are a bunch of “serious names” who were there to climb the mountain this winter. I don’t think any of them reached Camp IV yet. That in itself should highlight the achievement of the guys who summitted the mountain. When you read Angela’s article and the comment of some folks here, it appears that it is considered a non-02 climb only if it is done by a western mountaineer.

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ALEX
ALEX
1 month ago

For the book I’m not westerner. Well done to the Nepalis, but I am waiting for the no-O2 summit. And I made a mistake, I just read that 02 decreases altitude for 3000m.

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With_or_Without_02
With_or_Without_02
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

So you are saying that reaching camp 1 (about 6000m) with no-02 is tougher than reaching the summit (about 8600m) with 02.

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ALEX
ALEX
1 month ago

“Its no longer high altitude. It brings the summit of K2 down to as low as 4000m. Its climbing in an artificial bubble. Using O2 has been scientifically proven to be doping at altitude. We dont accept doping in sport. Plus, it’s entirely disrespectful to all those who have tried before without O2, those risk everything to push the limits of human possibility. Those who risk realizing their limits and accepting them without cheating. Nims is a friend. So is Mingma and a lot of these climbers. I love and respect them esp. because along the way they have helped… Read more »

With_or_Without_02
With_or_Without_02
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

Like I said previously, defining what is a “pure” climb is a slippery slope. Tomorrow, someone is going to come up with an even “purer” definition of climbing by arguing that you need to start from the sea level to claim that you climbed the entire 8000 meter.

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Joe
Joe
1 month ago

It’s not a slippery slope at all. Using climbing equipment or logistic support is on a totally different level than using a performance enhancing substance effecting the main challenge you’re dealing with, altitude. It’s great they got to the summit, but these claims O2 is not an issue don’t make it look any better. Appreciate the great achievement for what it is.

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Sherpa
Sherpa
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

So petty. let’s see Don Bowie climb without sherpa help. They’re the real steroids.

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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

I don’t believe the difference is that great. In any case, that’s only about the air pressure. They still have to climb the same distance.

If none of these climbers went up with no O2, which remains to be seen, that just means that there’s another climbing landmark waiting. Where is the problem with that?

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Uttam
Uttam
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

the use of O2 brings down the K2 summit down by 4000 m (?). Ya ya. the use of crampons brings it down by 1500 m (?). the use of ropes-harness-carabiners system brings it down by another 2000 m (?). the use of ice axe or trekking poles brings it further down by another 1000 m (?). until you have the summit of K2 barely 111 m above the sea level. why use any of these things if anybody is serious about mountain climbing, if one were to go by your reasoning. climb solo naked, if you don’t like the… Read more »

Dor
Dor
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

Are they preventing anyone else from climbing K2 in winter? They are the first to summit with this style, that’s all they did and now whoever wants to try without 02 can too.

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Joe
Joe
1 month ago
Reply to  Dor

Of course, there’s no problem there. It’s just interesting to see some here want to establish that bottled oxygen is not an issue, making this one of the greatest climbs in history. It’s great they did it, it’s great they’re from Nepal, but we have to be fair and transparant about the climbing style. That’s all.

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Alaric. T
Alaric. T
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

People seem to not be able to understand the impact of going to such an altitude without O2. Each second that you’re depriving your brain from O2 millions of brain cells die. So you’re literally getting stupider after each summit. It’s affecting how your brain ages. Does it compair to other sports without steroids? No way. Maybe people blaming others for taking care of their brain don’t have enough of it in the 1st place. It’s a personal decision and nobody is forcing you to not go up in any style you like.

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zubdiri
zubdiri
1 month ago
Reply to  ALEX

Incredible achievement by the Nepali … What the legendary Poles started more than 40 years ago has now finally been finished and in what fashion! Bonding together, putting any differences aside and closing this incredible winter climbing chapter by way of teamwork and giving the often underappreciated people of Nepal something to be proud of. Great achievement! ….K2 WITH OUT oxigen!!!!

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Helen
Helen
1 month ago

Fantastic news. Congratulations to all. Hopefully they all descend safely.

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ahahahaha
ahahahaha
1 month ago

It’s so unfair nobody carried obrady after he had paid so much for this excursion! At least he should receive best pr and social media performance award from the explorersweb!

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Don Paul
Don Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  ahahahaha

Best performance … coming up! I’ll be seriously scared for him.

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Uttam
Uttam
1 month ago

wow, what an amazing historic feat: “the first successful ascent of K2 in winter”. breaking trail, and fixing ropes at great risk to themselves on the ‘savage mountain’ in all those horrible winter conditions, so their clients and others may also benefit. finest example of helpfulness, generosity, and cooperation (“team work”) on inhospitable altitudes, if ever there was one. makes the so-called “purist” alpine-style climbers come off as a selfish (even ‘toxic’) breed of mountaineers – who mostly care about themselves and their achievements, the rest be damned – more often than not, in comparison. it is high time we… Read more »

Gholm
Gholm
1 month ago

Does anyone know where i can see updates on where john snorri is located now? Last i heard he was at c3 ?

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