It’s a Go for Winter K2, But is There Enough Time?

Grace Tseng of Taiwan and the Nepali team aiming for Winter K2 are finally on the move.

Outfitter Dolma Expeditions told ExplorersWeb that problems with visas have seriously delayed the beginning of the climb. But the Nepali members are flying to Pakistan today. According to her posts on social media, so is Tseng.

The team will start the approach trek as soon as possible and should arrive at Base Camp next week.

Still, the odds are against this unusual project. The expedition is entirely focused on young Tseng achieving the first female ascent of Winter K2 (after the first summit last year), and ticking off one more stage on her 14×8,000’ers quest.

Grace Tseng in Nepal last year. Photo: Grace Tseng

Time is running out

Time is clearly against them. The end of meteorological winter, and winter climbing permits, is only six weeks away. Even if they extended their permit till the end of calendar winter, weather windows will be extremely scarce.

The small team size will hinder them. The eight-member team will probably have to rely on old ropes fixed by previous expeditions and they will have to pitch and supply the four high-altitude camps on the route.

Tseng has no climbing partners. Instead, she has hired a strong Nepali team led by Nima Gyalzen. The team includes Chhiring Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, Furi Sherpa, Ngima Tendi, Ningma Dorje Tamang, and Tashi Sherpa.

This formula worked perfectly for her last fall on Kangchenjunga. There, they had weather and conditions on their side. The Kangchenjunga team also included Gelje Sherpa, who would have been a good fit for K2, since he is one of the 11 climbers who bagged the first winter ascent a year ago. Unfortunately for Tseng, Gelje is currently engaged in a winter project of his own: a new route on Cho Oyu from the peak’s Nepali side.