Mingma Reaches K2’s House Chimney; Purja, Others Begin Trek to Base Camp

The first days of winter have seen relatively good weather in northern Pakistan, permitting a large group of Western climbers to fly to Skardu on Tuesday, rather than drive, as they usually do. After an all-day drive to Askole today, they plan to start trekking on Christmas Eve. If progress up the Baltoro is similar to that in summer, they will celebrate New Year’s Eve in Base Camp.

The hike to K2 Base Camp

Map: k2basecamptrekking.com


The trek from Askole to K2 Base Camp usually takes six to seven days of gradual but relentless uphill, with stops at Jhola (3,000m altitude, after 21km), Paiju (20km, 3,450m), Khoburste (15km, 3,930m), Urdukas (12km, 4,130m), Goro (12km, 4,350m), Concordia and finally Base Camp — breathtaking both in its views and thin air — at 5,100m on a crevassed glacier.

Meanwhile, on K2

The all-Sherpa team of Mingma G, Dawa Tenzin, and Kili Pemba Sherpa have made impressive progress on their first rotation up the mountain. They reached Camp 1 on Monday; yesterday, they continued up to the base of House Chimney at 6,600m, the first technical landmark on K2’s Abruzzi Spur route. Now they are back in BC, resting.

One of Mingma G’s tents at Base Camp.


After keeping his cards close to his chest for weeks, Nirmal Purja shared details of his Winter K2 expedition on Monday, just before starting the trek to BC. Purja states that he will lead a team of six, including climbers and a camera crew. “We also have other climbers joining us at Base Camp, but they will be there to train at the lower camps…building experience and knowledge,” he said.

About the other teams on the mountain, Purja added: “If there is room for collaboration, then we will work together. I will be leading the fixing team.” Climbing sources have told ExplorersWeb that Purja and his team are included in the SST permit.

Nirmal Purja’s K2 team. Photo: Nirmal Purja


Once everyone arrives at BC, attention will turn toward the general strategy for fixing the Abruzzi Spur route and how to coordinate the climbers, both would-be summiters and those intending to gain experience on the peak’s lower sections. In particular, how will everyone juggle the partial rotations to Advanced Base Camp, C1, and C2, where room for tents is scarce.