Saddest News from K2: Sergi Mingote Dies in Fall

Sergi Mingote has died from injuries sustained in a long fall somewhere below Camp 1, according to Seven Summit Treks leader Dawa Sherpa. His tracker shows a fall of nearly 600m.

Alex Gavan, Tamara Lunger, Magdalena Gorzkowska, and Oswaldo Oliveira tried to help him and asked for medical assistance, but nothing could be done to save his life. Juan Pablo Mohr, who was some distance behind, also ran to help, but it took him 40 minutes to reach the accident scene.

L/R: Tamara Lunger, JP Mohr and Sergi Mingote, happy in C1 three days ago. Photo: S. Mingote


Sergi Mingote was not even intending to climb K2 in winter. His big project was to summit all the 8,000’ers without O2. When the COVID-19 pandemic destroyed his plans to complete the challenge within 1,000 days, he didn’t give up.

“No problem,” he said, “there’s plenty of time to return to climbing and complete the quest faster than the previous record [seven years and eleven months, set by Jerzy Kukuzcka].”

During the lockdown, he trained every day, even lost weight. As soon as he was allowed out, he set off on a cycling and climbing trip, jumping from one significant peak to another across Europe. It was fun, it was a good training, but it was not the same as the Himalaya that he longed for so much.

He tried to get a permit in Pakistan for the end of summer, hoping to explore some off-the-beaten track areas and to distribute winter gear and clothes to isolated  villages.

In the fall, he remained locked down again at his home in Catalonia. And then, out of the blue, Dawa Sherpa called to offer him the chance to participate in something completely unprecedented: a large, outfitted expedition to K2. Mingote accepted, but insisted on using no supplementary oxygen.

Through the days, he kept the spirits up, his fitness was excellent, and his reports from the mountain were complete, honest, and highly interesting. He carried up his own gear and left depots. Yesterday, he was elated to have completed his acclimatization round with a night in Camp 3, with Juan Pablo Mohr as his climbing partner.

They had the acclimatization they needed, their equipment in place — they just needed another window to go up again, this time to the summit. It was only mid-January, there was still plenty of time.

Today… It’s another broken life, another story that ends far too soon. He was a well-focused, honest, and sensible climber. He was to achieve great goals in the Himalaya. He was a father and a husband. He was a friend. I will miss him. We all will.


Update: Tamara Lunger later posted a video on Instagram of her, Alex Gavan, and Sergi Mingote (on the right) dancing joyously on the slopes of K2, not many hours before Mingote’s fatal accident. “This video makes me cry so much,” she wrote. “Not only all of us have lost a great and strong mountaineer, but I had found and so soon lost a wonderful friend, with a big heart so positive, happy and full of love for the mountains, others, and life.”