K2: New Summit Push Looms

K2 Winter 8000ers
Muhammad Ali Sadpara. Photo: Elia Saikaly

K2 climbers have waited in Base Camp for over two weeks, enduring altitude, bitter cold, and non-stop winds. Worst of all has been the nagging questions: Why am I here? Should I have joined the previous summit push? Will I get another chance?

No one said it would be easy, but the waiting may be about to end. Today, the winter survivors crawled out of their tents to a gorgeous day, with blue skies and — at last! — weak winds.

“Until two days ago, I thought that my dream of climbing to the top was to be put aside,” wrote Tamara Lunger, who has been battling an intestinal ailment. “[However] yesterday morning I woke up with a smile and a light breeze and the sun kissing my face, and all of this brought me back into the right energy, at least mentally!”

Tamara Lunger has been dealing with both uncertainty and a stomach bug. Photo: Tamara Lunger

The wind is supposed to pick up again tomorrow, but a proper weather window should open between Wednesday and Friday. With weather typically worsening in the last half of February, this may be their last chance.

“I’m ready,” Muhammad Ali Sadpara told ExplorersWeb. “We just need a good window, some more time to make it [to the top and back]. A three-day window would be perfect,” he said. And that is what they may have at the tail end of this week.

Neither he, his son Sajid, nor John Snorri used oxygen on their previous summit attempt. “We stock oxygen in the [higher] camps for emergencies,” he said, “but otherwise we are trying without.”

The three of them set off last week, despite a predictably narrow window. “It was a gamble,” Sadpara admitted. “We were not expecting those sudden high winds.”

Still, he is confident that he can make it in one go from BC to what they are calling lower Camp 3 (6,800m). “I have done it by myself, but it’s different when there are more people, in the night, and in the dead of winter,” he said.

The Pakistani climber revealed that while they were on their way to Camp 3 in worsening weather, they were unaware of the fake news claiming that one of them was injured and awaiting rescue. “We only heard of it after returning to Base Camp,” he said. “We don’t know where that information came from.”

Left to right, Sajid Sadpara, John Snorri, and Muhammad Ali Sadpara, still cheerful after two months, several forays up K2, and a new summit push in the offing. Photo: Elia Saikaly

In addition to Snorri and the Sadparas, other climbers are shortly expected to confirm whether they will join the upcoming summit push.

The Nepalis who summited the mountain two weeks ago are already back home, taking in the well-deserved applause and managing their immediate professional futures. Some are also considering whether to climb Manaslu. Mingma G, meanwhile, is editing his video footage and preparing a detailed report of the summit climb.

Meanwhile, the mastermind behind the winter K2 project, Chhang Dawa Sherpa, remains in Base Camp, ready to coordinate efforts when the action starts in 72 hours or so.

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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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Shaji P Mathew
Shaji P Mathew
1 month ago

Let them reach …ite proven that humanly possible by the team arrived early at summit

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jmaf
jmaf
1 month ago

If they have O’s stashed for emergency but don’t use them will the purists consider this a no O’s bid or do you have to go with no access to O’s to be pure no O’s.

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