Breaking: First K2 Summits!

After a long day of fighting high winds and deep snow on the upper sections, five Sherpa guides reached the summit of K2 at 10:45 pm Pakistan time.

Summiters are Pasdawa Sherpa and Chhiring Namgyal of 8K Expeditions, and Siddhi Ghising, Dorjee Gyelzen Sherpa, and Rinji Sherpa of Madison Mountaineering.

Climbers on the upper section of K2, above the Bottleneck. Photo: Summit Karakoram

 

Pasdawa Sherpa and Chhiring Namgyal usually support Kristin Harila, who is waiting in Camp 4 with the third member of her team, Dawa Ongchu. She will leave for the summit tonight.

“Pasdawa and Chhiring Namgyal are playing a key role in opening the route on K2 this season,” Pemba Sherpa, co-owner of 8K Expeditions, told ExplorersWeb from Kathmandu.

“Moreover, the moment he reaches the summit, Pasdawa Sherpa will be the fastest to climb the five highest 8,000’ers, breaking the previous record by Nirmal Purja [and snatching it from Harila and Dawa Ongchu, at least by one day].”

Pasdawa Sherpa and Kristin Harila in Spring this year on Lhotse. Photo: K.Harila/Bremont

Climbers in Camp 4

Stefi Troguet, climbing with Elite Exped, moved today from Camp 3 to a (slightly lower than usual) Camp 4 at 7,800m.

“Climbing this mountain without O2 takes all your energy, every day is so, so hard,” she texted on her tracker. She reached Camp 4 utterly exhausted but determined to try for the summit tomorrow. Unlike Broad Peak, where a significant number of climbers used no bottled oxygen, the Andorran climber is one of the few who intend to climb both BP and K2 without oxygen or not at all.

Grace Tseng, led by Nima Gyalzen Sherpa and Ningma Dorje Tamang, has been in Camp 4 since yesterday. Several sources estimate up to 200 climbers taking part in the current summit push. It is unclear, however, whether some retreated today when the wind picked up.

Most teams, however, are hurrying up. The Furtenbach Adventures team arrived at Camp 4 this evening. Adriana Brownlee and Gelje Sherpa, fresh from the summit of Broad Peak, are already in K2 Base Camp. They plan to summit within the next two days.

The rest of the Madison Mountaineering team also reached C4.

 

Stefi Troguet’s tracker today.

 

Poor cooperation

The rope-fixing team entered the infamous Bottleneck ate in the morning today, and only exited the exposed traverse under the Great Serac at around 5 pm, according to Summit Karakoram.

Climbers at the Bottleneck on K2. Photo: Mingma Dorchi Sherpa

 

That is a late hour to be under the looming serac. Summit after dark would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. But rope-fixing teams are increasingly used to climbing at odd hours, in order to have the route ready for their many clients. High winds delayed the rope fixers this morning.

Lack of cooperation is not helping. “Despite promises and commitments from other teams to contribute manpower for rope fixing, it’s just our team [three Sherpas] and 8K Expeditions [two Sherpas] doing the work,” said Madison.

Pemba Sherpa of 8K agrees. “Don’t be confused by other agencies who say they are fixing. No one else has any Sherpas on the fixing team.” Later, Madison noted that Seven Summit Treks, unable to provide help, has offered to pay the summit bonus of one of Madison’s fixers.

So much for the “adorable” cooperation between teams claimed some. Indeed, 8K Expeditions had previously said that Sherpas from its own team, as well as Pioneer, Madison, and Seven Summit Treks, would pitch in. Mingma G also stated he would help, if needed.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive,and a published author.