First Team Arrives at K2 Base Camp

John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Sajid Sadpara reached K2 Base Camp on Saturday. The mountain gave them quite a greeting: Twenty-four hours later, fierce winds flattened most of the tents, and the climbers were scrambling to rebuild camp in -20°C.

“Today we moved our camps a bit and fixed all the tents, so now we should be ready for the next crazy weather,” Snorri posted on IG. Welcome to winter K2, their barren, hostile home for the next two months.

Snorri (right), the Sadparas and others in K2 BC. Photo: John Snorri


Otherwise, the team reached BC impressively quickly, thanks to their fitness, good weather (they even had a sunny day at Concordia), and perhaps the small size of the team. Besides Snorri, the Sadparas and a liaison officer, it is unknown how many porters and BC staff accompanied them.

Previous comments suggest that Snorri and the Sadparas might begin climbing in a day or two. This would give them the post position on the race up K2 but might disqualify them in some eyes from winter expedition status, since they’re beginning before December 21. While some climbers, such as Denis Urubko, define “meteorological” winter as the span from December 1 to February 28, even Urubko started his winter attempt on Broad Peak last year after December 21.

Mingma G (third from left) and team. Photo: Akbar Syed/Lela Peaks


The trio may not have BC to themselves for long. Mingma G and his three-man, all-Sherpa team flew to Islamabad on Sunday. Yesterday, they obtained their climbing permit and will fly to Skardu once the weather improves. Their permit includes only the three Sherpa climbers, no high-altitude porters. They should reach K2 BC well before the Seven Summit Treks expedition, which flies to Pakistan in approximately two weeks.

The foreseeable encounter between Mingma G and Snorri is creating some anticipation among those who followed the two climbers during their failed attempt on winter K2 last year. Mingma eventually called the expedition off because of bad conditions, and Snorri railed bitterly against what he considered Mingma’s poor judgment.

This year, Mingma has refused to bring clients. Instead, he has put his trust in his two strong Sherpa partners, Dawa Tenzing and Kilu Pemba. In a recent interview with Alan Arnette, Mingma stated he would be happy to collaborate with any other team on the mountain. Whether Snorri will be equally open remains to be seen.