K2 Summiters Leave Base Camp

A large Mi-17 Pakistani army helicopter has airlifted the 10 Nepali summiters out of Base Camp. After a brief local welcome in Skardu, they have continued on to Islamabad for an official reception.

K2 summiters pose with Askari Aviation pilots earlier today in Skardu. Photo: Alpine Adventure Guides


A video of the team in Skardu appears to show 19-year-old Adriana Brownlee sharing in the summit celebrations, so she seems to have ended her training trip.

The flight spared climbers the long trek back to Skardu, but Mingma Gyalje, aka Mingma G, suggests that injuries may also be involved. “Out of 10, only two are now in good condition, with the other eight members sustaining frostbite,” he told the Kathmandu Post. “I cannot describe in words how tough Saturday night was. It really tested the limit of Sherpas.”

Mingma G, two weeks ago in K2 Base Camp. Photo: Mingma G


“As we negotiated the dangerous Bottleneck fixing ropes, some of the friends, including me, had decided on two different occasions to give up,” he said over the phone from Base Camp yesterday. “I would like to thank Nirmal Purja, who encouraged me and boosted my confidence. I was numb but I could hear Purja encouraging me.”

Eventually, Mingma G managed to continue: “I felt like there was no point in turning back.”

In a talk with Alan Arnette, he spoke about his eventual choice to use supplementary oxygen, revealing that “the plan all along was for only one person in the team to go without [it].”

He said that he started using oxygen at Camp 4, because he felt so cold. It is unclear how or when Nirmal Purja became the one chosen to go without bottled oxygen.

Mingma also said that the team would make an official statement in Islamabad, where they would address the question of style and oxygen for once and all.

Meanwhile, the climbers remaining in Base Camp have a few bad-weather days of rest ahead of them. John Snorri and the Sadparas have confirmed that they are still going for the summit. We’re still awaiting news about no-O2 hopefuls Tamara Lunger and Juan Pablo Mohr. Lunger has posted a selfie in Base Camp with some of the successful summiters, so she is still there for the moment. Mohr, never too keen to expose himself on social media, and deeply affected by Sergi Mingote’s passing, has made no comment yet.