A Remarkable K2 Season Wraps Up

All K2 climbers have now safely returned to Base Camp. Now — and not before — we can consider the climb done. We can now fill in some details missed in the rush of breaking news, especially about those climbers who completed a no-O2 ascent.

Hungarians David Klein (left) and Suhajda Szilárd, back in Base Camp, pose with the flowery garland given to K2 summiters. Photo: Facebook

Szilard Suhajda and David Klein from Hungary, climbing independently without supplementary O2 or high altitude porters, patiently waited when the first summit push was aborted and launched their new bid on July 24. While stomach problems forced Klein down before Camp 4, Suhajda pushed on and reached the summit on July 25.

Carla Perez approaches the summit of K2. Photo: Adrian Ballinger

Equally elated are Carla Perez and guide Adrian Ballinger. She became the first South American woman to summit both Everest and K2 without bottled O2. As for Ballinger, he was still amazed at the weather. “In 17 8,000m summits, I have never had a day like this, I probably never will again, and I’m ok with that,” he said.

K2 summiters celebrate in Base Camp. Photo: Seven Summit Treks

Additionally, four of the 19 Seven Summit Treks summiters reached the top with no oxygen support: Moesses Fiamoncini of Brazil, David Roeske of the U.S., Johan Wenzel of Austria and Anja Karena Blacha of Germany. Ngima Dorchi and Lakpa Temba of STT also bagged their third K2 summit.

With oxygen, but staunchly heading the lead group, Nirmal Purja has become the man of the season in the Karakorum. While details on his latest blitz ascent of Broad Peak are still to come, he has chain-climbed a mind-blowing 11 8000’ers in three months, including all those in Pakistan.

He is now facing something unusual, for him: a break. He will likely wait until the monsoon withdraws to nail the last three peaks on his list: Manaslu (in Nepal), Shishapangma (in Tibet) and Cho Oyu (which straddles the Nepal-Tibet border, but is usually climbed from its Tibetan side).

Nirmal Purja, fourth from the left, at K2’s Base Camp. Photo: SST