K2: The Eyewitness to Sergi Mingote’s Fatal Fall Reveals What Happened

K2 Winter 8000ers
New partners: Tamara Lunger and Juan Pablo Mohr: Photo: JP Mohr
In an interview with Desnivel, the Spanish climbing magazine, Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr explains what he saw the day that Sergi Mingote fell to his death.
Lunger, Mohr, and Mingote had shared a tent at Camp 1 on their previous acclimatization round. While Lunger remained in Camp 2, Mingote and Mohr continued up to Camp 3 for a night at 7,000m. It was on their way down to Base Camp that the accident occurred, between the higher and lower Camp 1’s.

Mohr was descending faster than Mingote and was in front. Shortly before the lower, or Japanese, Camp 1, he saw someone plummeting out of control down a steep, icy ramp. At the moment, he didn’t even know it was his friend. He just yelled, “Try to stop yourself, try to stop!” and ran to help. It was 600m before Mingote finally came to a halt.

Mohr didn’t see the actual moment of the fall but he confirms that the route was fixed on that section and that the climbers who later passed through said that the ropes were in place and in good shape.

“We can only speculate about what happened,” Mohr said. “He might have been hit by a rock or slipped while transitioning from one rope to the next, but the actual reason is unknown.”

Currently, no one is moving up the mountain because of high winds. Mohr believes that most of the climbers currently in Base Camp may abandon their attempts soon. Not all of them, though. He and Tamara Lunger have decided to partner up on a no-O2 attempt, as a “tribute to Sergi”.

“I believe he would have liked us to go on,” said Mohr. “He will be our new guardian angel, accompanying us in spirit on our climb.”

Tamara Lunger, Juan Pablo Mohr, and Sergi Mingote in happier times at Camp 1, barely a week ago. Frame from a video posted by Tamara Lunger

Lunger herself lost her original partner when Alex Gavan decided to go home after Mingote’s death. In shock herself, she had a tough decision to make. After two days, she refound her motivation and decided to join Mohr, Mingote’s former climbing mate.

“It has been a very turbulent time for me, full of worries, tears, and dark moments,” she said. “But I decided to stay because I always try to find in every bad thing something to discover, to understand, to overcome, and thus become stronger.”

Atanas Skatov also remains committed. He is patiently waiting in Base Camp for better weather, as is Magdalena Gorzkowska. The former track athlete intends to go for the summit as soon as possible: “Only the weather determines my decisions,” she says. “I know why I’m here, this is my fourth expedition to 8,000m, and I definitely feel the best.”

Gorzkowska claims that the cold does not affect her much and that she feels fine at -25º.  However, she says that she needs the summit winds to drop to at most 25kph, which is not common on K2 in winter but not impossible either, as we saw when the Nepalis summited on a bluebird day.

Magdalena Gorzkowska in front of a wind-buffeted K2.

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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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Jeanne Wagner
Jeanne Wagner
4 months ago

An incredibly beautiful, and deadly endeavor. How many climbers actually summit w/o oxygen?

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Mati
Mati
4 months ago

Mountain of mountains” K2 pride of Pakistan

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