K2: Small Setback for Purja, Sherpas Continue Toward C4

Nirmal Purja and Mingma G are back in Base Camp, but the work won’t stop on the mountain. Seven Summit Treks leader Chhang Dawa, together with Pasang Nurbu, Lhakpa Temba, and Sona Sherpa left Base Camp this afternoon to fix the route toward Camp 4 on January 2 and 3, despite the forecast winds.

Left to right, Pasang Nurbu, Lhakpa Temba, Chhang Dawa and Sona Sherpa have left to fix the route toward Camp 4. Photo: Seven Summit Treks


Yesterday, Nirmal Purja’s team joined Mingma G’s group to finish fixing the route to Camp 3. They then decided to spend a second night in Camp 2 to improve acclimatization. However, “the plan to make all my team members sleep at Camp 3 was unsuccessful,” Purja reported. “I must admit my team [was] slightly late to be in the better position to attack K2″ during a potential summit push when the weather improves, he added.

Sergi Mingote plans to head up toward Camp 1 and Camp 2 tomorrow. As time goes on and climbing subgroups form, old friends Mingote, Juan Pablo Mohr, Mattia Conte, and Carlos Garranzo are bonding with Alex Gavan and Tamara Lunger. “We also share tents with Antonios Sykaris and Atanas Skatov, and we get along really well,” Mingote said.

K2 Base Camp. Photo: Arnold Coster


Magdalena Gorzowska and her group will also usher in 2021 from above Base Camp. Earlier today, she checked in from Camp 1, after a “tough day” to get there in -40ºC .

While all the expeditions share the work, Colin O’Brady, a client on the SST team, continues to sell himself to the U.S. media as if he were the main man on the mountain. Yesterday’s appearance on NBC’s Today “details his plan to scale K2 in winter”. The interview mixes a Q & A recorded before departure with some video uploaded during the trek and the arrival in BC. He spoke about his adventure on the “most dangerous mountain of the world…at -80(!) degrees” as “that project everyone considers impossible”.

Few in the adventure community are troubled by O’Brady’s accidental celebrity for his semi-crossing of Antarctica. Luck is part of the game, and all explorers have to sell themselves somewhat to survive. But it’s not just or mainly about selling. It is, unfortunately, becoming clear that rather than build toward a truly visionary success, as his fitness, resources, and growing adventure experience might permit, O’Brady will continue to promote solid, B-level endeavors as world-shattering (Antarctic ski), or tag along on guided projects, such as the Antarctic row and here on K2, and try to market it to the wider public as “his” impossible feat.