K2: The “Nepali Force” Ties Winter Altitude Record

The weather on K2 was slightly better today than forecasts predicted, so climbers shook off the cold and continued to hurry up the Abruzzi Spur. In front, a 10-man “Nepali Force” headed by Mingma G and Nirmal Purja, plus at least one (Sona Sherpa) from Seven Summit Treks. Together, they reached, set up, and supplied Camp 3 at 7,350m (a little higher than usual) with ropes, O2, food, and fuel. They also fixed ropes above C3 to 7,600m. Purja said his team’s backpacks each weighed over 35kg.

The so-called Nepali Force also celebrated a milestone today. By reaching the Shoulder and stopping not far from Camp 4, they equaled the previous altitude record on winter K2, set by Denis Urubko in 2018.  Although some of them may be using supplemental O2, it remains a remarkable achievement and augers well for the weeks ahead.

Left to right, Tamara Lunger, JP Mohr, and Sergi Mingote in C1 yesterday. Alex Gavan, Mattia Conte, and Antonios Sykaris stopped at the lower “Japanese” C1. Photo: Sergi Mingote


According to his tracker, Sergi Mingote has moved up from C1 to C2; Juan Pablo Mohr and Tamara Lunger, who climbed with Mingote yesterday, likely went with him. According to our winter high-altitude consultant Jacek Teler, their advance is a wise move, since it puts them above most of the rocks that bombed climbers yesterday, clipping at least three of them. These cannonballs come from a rock barrier at 6,600m and loom over the route until after the crack known as House’s Chimney. By Camp 2, the rockfall danger has passed, although as Ralf Dujmovits pointed out yesterday, the avalanche terrain now begins in earnest.

What about tomorrow?

“Today’s weather is okay with a bit of wind,” Purja wrote a few hours ago. “It’s still freezing cold, but we have a clear sky with stars overhead.” While some forecasts show at least one more good weather day, and Dawa Sherpa expects the rope-fixing team to continue tomorrow, Purja’s forecast is less optimistic. He’ll likely move or stay put, depending on which prediction comes to pass. But Mingma G has confirmed that Dawa Tenzing, Kilu Sherpa, and himself will stay in C3 tomorrow.

Magdalena Gorzkowska and her group understandably want to spend as little time as possible in the rockfall zone, so will hurry all the way from BC to C2 tomorrow.