Purja Confirms: No Oxygen on K2

K2 Winter 8000ers
Nirmal Purja smiles during the Nepali team's historic night on winter K2. Photo: Nirmal Purja

The pictures that Nirmal Purja shared earlier today showed him with no mask and with frost from breath all over the front of his down suit. That was enough to increase expectations, and now he has confirmed it: “Job done! K2 winter with no supplementary oxygen!”

In a short post on his website, Purja explains the difficult decision he had to make. He was not acclimatized enough after only one night in Camp 2 (6,600m) on the previous rotation. Also, as the leader of his team, his priority had to be their safety.

In the end, it was his “self-confidence, knowing my body’s strength, capability and my experience from climbing the 14×8,000’ers enabled me to keep up with the rest of the team members and yet lead,” he said.

The meaning of those last words is unclear, but if he actually was first in line, that would satisfy even the purest standards of no-O2 climbs. It would mean that above Camp 4, he broke trail and fixed ropes for the rest. In any case, it’s a remarkable feat that enhances the Nepali team’s achievement and assuages those voices longing for a first winter summit in style. It is not yet known whether any others among the 10 Nepali summiters chose, like Purja, to go without supplemental oxygen.

Purja alludes to the current style debate, pointing out that bottled oxygen is just one factor among many that make a climb easier. “There are many cases where climbers have claimed no-O2 summits but followed our trail that we blazed and used the ropes and lines that we had fixed,” Purja said. “Some of which are widely known within the inner climbing community. What is classified as fair means?”

Purja added that while he mostly used oxygen on his remarkable chain-climb of all 14 of the Himalayan and Karakorum giants in 2019, he went without it until 8,000m and was pleased with his performance.

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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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John
John
8 months ago

That will shut them up

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Damien François
Damien François
7 months ago
Reply to  John

Excatly my thought: Who will dare to open his mouth against Nims now?
What Nirmal Purja can do is out of this world.
Who dares wins!

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Dan
Dan
8 months ago

I’m seriously struggling to comprehend just how strong this guy is and just how historic this achievement is.
Purja is just in another league. It’s usually once in a generation you get to witness someone this good.

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Damien François
Damien François
7 months ago
Reply to  Dan

I wamrly recommend his book that I virutally swallowed in a few days after I bought it in Kathmandu in November.
Nims is more than human, he’s the Übermensch! Mentally and physically, but most of all morally (what Nietzsche meant, in fact, a man who plays by his own rules which he set up very high).
I am sad I missed him an Ama Dablam…

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Hugo Torres
8 months ago

Nims Purja is and should be recognized as one of the best mountaineers in the world not only for his fantastic qualities as a climber, but also for his extraordinary ability as an expedition organizer and his teamwork attitude. Congratulations to Nims, to the other 9 climbers in the group who got to the summit and to the entire Nepali sherpa community!

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Not a K2 climber
Not a K2 climber
8 months ago

The spirit of mountaineering has changed over the years. Back in the era of Bonnington, it was rather different and now Nirmal has changed it completely (for the better, I feel). All the other no-names on the mountain who have no business there (I’m talking about people like Magda Gorzkowska, Adriana Brownlee) are simply contributing to the commercial circus that has plagued mountaineering. What’s a 19 y.o doing on K2 anyway? Me thinks it’s more about the attention rather than anything else. Go home, kiddos.

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Ron
Ron
8 months ago

You dont even make sense. The Nepalese like Mingma/Nims are the ones bringing commercial clients in. As much as you like to trash on ‘no-name’ climbers, at the start of ‘Mission Impossible’ Nims was a no-name too.
p.s. Aside from great genes, im curious where he got all those resources/money from.

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Jess
Jess
7 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Ron, as well as the money from clients, he’s sponsored by a whole bunch of companies, Red Bull being the major one (which is why he’s always wearing that cap). But other companies provide him with equipment etc. The helicopter trip from base camp to Skardu was financed by the Pakistan government.

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Dor
Dor
8 months ago

Brownlee paid Nims and her BC escapades finance his expedition. If Nims or any other can achieve this kind of feat, while guiding safely customers to those peaks it’s another achievement in itself. A risk management one and a financial one which is must better than taking crazy risks to satisfy customers like previous companies.

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dan
dan
8 months ago

Lighten up Francis

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Walid Hamadeh
Walid Hamadeh
8 months ago

Congratulations to The Fantastic 10 Nepalese K2 Summiteers!!! What an extraordinary accomplishment, BRAVO!!! All 10 summited and all 10 made it back to BC safe and sound. In my eyes, they all have accomplished the same objective with or without O2. For the climbers that did summit with O2, does it mean that they have achieved less? Or does it indicate that Nims and maybe others that have not used O2 have taken the unnecessary risks enduring the punishing winter conditions at these altitudes just because the world is watching? Regardless, they have equally conquered K2 and their names will… Read more »

Rayhan Ahmed
8 months ago

In Islam mountains keep continents together
If they were not there then continents would crash
Into each other .. this is creation of allah .
Do not play with allahs creation then if you
Are then you must accept your death like climbing
Everest K 2 etc .
This team must be proud on achievements that
Allah allowed otherwise they would have
Died

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mudasir Ismail Bhat
8 months ago
Reply to  Rayhan Ahmed

The achievements in field the of mountaineering are changing, Nirmal is legend and Winter Summit of K2 wasn’t a miracle but an example of it’s possible.

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Non-Religious Climber
Non-Religious Climber
8 months ago
Reply to  Rayhan Ahmed

Keep your religion out of it, buddy.

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Ali
Ali
7 months ago

I think Nirmal usually performs his religious prayers before climbing those mountains

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Damien François
Damien François
7 months ago
Reply to  Rayhan Ahmed

Read my book: THE HOLY MOUNTAINS OF NEPAL. Then you should realize not everything is bound to only one certain restricting god who forbids almost everything. And meditate this, please: “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… Read more »

Ali
Ali
7 months ago

Which god or religion restricts everything

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Damien François
Damien François
7 months ago
Reply to  Ali

Yours…

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Nobody in particular
Nobody in particular
7 months ago
Reply to  Rayhan Ahmed

The mountains are there BECAUSE the continents are “crashing” together. It’s plate tectonics (science), which has nothing to say about what (or “who”) is ultimately behind the forces of the universe. I personally would like to believe it’s not a wrathful god, but everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, which they would be well off expressing to others harmoniously or keeping to themselves. Regarding religion in the Himalaya/Karakoram region, it’s hard to make any cut and dried statements. In regions like Kashmir and parts of Afghanistan people are killing each other and destroying cultural treasures in the name of religion.… Read more »

John Bezik
8 months ago

Congratulations to this historic summit event. Shows what high alti tude climbers can achieve working together with one heart, soul,mind and spirit . These climbers where at the right time and place. K2 gave them a small window of opportunity and said let’s see what you got guys and boy did they climb . Concerning the climber with no 02. Absolutely mind blowing , I still can’t wrap my head around this super human climber and this achievement. No less in winter. GOD bless all the climbers and may they achieve their goals.

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Myst
Myst
8 months ago

Yeah all just shut up for good ! Nims is a different breed !just speechless! Congratulations to everyone who love Mountains

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ronald
ronald
7 months ago

Not really surprised about this. I thought they topped out really late in the afternoon on their summit push and normally Purja is a real quick climber. So the conditions must have been really tough (blue ice was a constant in a lot of reports) or one or more did not use o’s. Perhaps both are true. Congrats to this really strong team again. A true accomplishment. I do not believe anyone else will summit this winter. The Nepalis really made quick rotations to camp 4 and i do not see the other climbers working this way. Weather windows are… Read more »

Giorgos
Giorgos
7 months ago

First of all congratulations to this fantastic team and the astonishing achievment that they made!!!
It is said that on the descend 8 climbers stayed on C3 for the night and the 2 others didn’t. Was is possible, safe, smart for the 2 to go all the way down to base camp during the night?? And how many hours did it take them to do so?? (from top to BC)

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Augustin Man
Augustin Man
7 months ago
Reply to  Giorgos

36 hours.

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APY
APY
7 months ago
Reply to  Giorgos

The two who came down first had frostbite so they needed to get back to BC without delay. I think it took them roughly 14-15 hours.

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Rajesh baniya
Rajesh baniya
7 months ago

This is nims style 🤙🏼

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Poly
Poly
7 months ago

Congartulations, guys. You make history!!!

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Tammy Gower
Tammy Gower
7 months ago

Congratulations! You arre remarkable and that was a extraordinary accomplishment

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AlpineCommunity
AlpineCommunity
7 months ago

He remembered after two days that he hadn’t used bottled O2? After there was a big fuss. Wait, in couple of days they will choose who else climbed without O2… I respect all of them, good climbers, indeed. But a guy who did his project 14×8000 with bottled O2 suddenly climbed K2, his first winter 8000+, in winter without it, and without announcing he will do it? And he led the trail without the mask, and those with bottled O2 followed him? Give me a break. Dawa and others posted regularly, how’s that they didnt tell us before the summit… Read more »

Marie
Marie
7 months ago

Perhaps he decided to respect the families of the 2 dead climbers by not making it all about himself.

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Adam Jin
Adam Jin
7 months ago

Did you read the article. He said that for the 14 mountains last year he used oxygen only above 8000m.why so critical of someone elses accomplishments? A comment made in bad faith. Or is it bcos a white was not the one to accomplish such a feat?

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Bathtub Diver
Bathtub Diver
7 months ago
Reply to  Adam Jin

So you mean on Cho Oyu he used O2 for the last 200m? Annapurna for 91 meters …?

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Ranjeet S Tate
Ranjeet S Tate
7 months ago

Fair questions.

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Jess
Jess
7 months ago

I think he deliberately kept the info back for a few reasons.
1) Because he wanted the achievement to be about the whole team of Nepali climbers, and to not elevate himself above the team (in the eyes of the O2 purists, rather than himself).
2) So that all the oxygen critics would make their comments known, and then he could say, “By the way….” and shut them all up.

+1
Uttam
Uttam
7 months ago
Reply to  Jess

Nimsdai doesn’t say what he wants to do (with or without oxygen) beforehand, he simply does it. That is Nims’ style. Mountaineering is still the wild wild west, and there are no rules, he doesn’t have to show his best hand upfront – make big declarations or proclamations (unless it’s for sponsorships to fund his climbs, for mountaineering is an expensive affair). May be he likes to surprise the world. And suspenses and surprises are what the world needs and we’re all better for it.

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Adam Jin
Adam Jin
7 months ago

This will shut up the so called alpinist who are experts at diminishing other ppls accomplishments

+1
Damien François
Damien François
7 months ago
Reply to  Adam Jin

Plenty of them here. I bet most of the naysayers have never been above 8.000 m, nor even in the Himalayas. The purists… Tss, tss…

+1
Gauth
Gauth
7 months ago

The guy is a L E G E N D.
Period.

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Amer
Amer
7 months ago

thnx mr Nirmal. your climb is just reflection of your 14 8000m summits in an year. you r the best judge!!!!

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