K2: Purja, Mingma G Reach Camp 2

Climbers on K2 are hurrying to fix the route as high as possible before the rare spell of good weather slips away. Mingma G was first to reach Camp 2, as did Nirmal Purja, after what he describes as a hard but good day.

“We are very slow [compared to] our normal pace, but it’s expected due to extremely cold temperatures and heavy loads,” Purja said.

Both Purja’s and Mingma G’s teams will spend the night at Camp 2 to acclimatize. Mingma then plans to continue to Camp 3, fixing the 900m of rope he has left, while Purja wants to reach Camp 4 in a single go. According to his tracker, Snorri has not moved from Camp 1.

Likely also hard at work on K2 are the SST Sherpa leads, who reached BC on December 21. “All teams on the mountain…will work together to have maximum chances,” said expedition leader Chhang Dawa Sherpa.

Such cooperation could vastly improve the odds of success, according to Jacek Teler in his latest discussion with ExplorersWeb. If all teams pitch in, they may finish fixing the ropes up to Camp 4 before the end of the year.

Altitude, however, will slow down many of them. Only Purja and his men have recently been up high, climbing in Nepal over the past few weeks. Yet even Purja said today that his team is not acclimatized. It’s not known whether anyone above Base Camp is currently using supplemental O2.

In the end, it’s all about the weather. Forecasts show an unusually long — and definitely providential — weather window until the end of the year. Then, the evolution is uncertain: Previous reports announced more windless days during the first week of January, while other sources show that 2021 will bring “winter normal” back to the Karakorum.

A misty Seven Summit Treks camp at Concordia today. Photo: Sergi Mingote


A powerful subgroup of climbers

Meanwhile, the many Western climbers with Seven Summit treks have stopped at Concordia for the night and should reach Base Camp tomorrow. Co-leader Sergi Mingote then hopes to start moving up K2 as soon as possible. “I would like to go for a long rotation to higher camps since the teams currently on the mountain should have reached Camp 3,” he said.

According to Mingote, a powerful subgroup of climbers seems to be forming during the trek in, thanks to their shared past experiences. This includes Tamara Lunger and Alex Gavan, Juan Pablo Mohr and Mattia Comté, and Carlos Garranzo and Mingote himself. They have been discussing possible climbing strategies among themselves. Should they pool their resources, they will form a formidable team, with easily the most experience among those at Base Camp. Lunger, Gavan, Mohr, and Mingote have also stated they will not use supplementary O2.

Finally, Mingote also reminds us that some of the clients trekking to Base Camp — presumably including Colin O’Brady’s wife, Jenna Beshaw — are not intending to climb K2, but “to accompany their partners or document the ascent.”