Sergi Mingote Targets his Second 8,000m Double-Header

Testing the saturation of oxygen. Photo: Sergi Mingote

Catalan mountaineer Sergi Mingote is currently in Nepal on the second leg of an ambitious year-long project he calls 3x2x8000: climbing six of the world’s most challenging peaks in three expeditions. Ratcheting up the record-breaking difficulty of these double-headers, Mingote will do all six ascents without bottled oxygen. He is already one-third of the way there: This past July, he topped Broad Peak and K2 within the same week. This fall’s double-header: Makalu and Dhaulagiri.

While many mountaineers choose supplemental oxygen when tackling the Himalayan and Karakorum giants, he says that this piece of equipment takes away from his motivation and the overall value of the sport.

Resting on K2. Photo: Sergi Mingote

Nevertheless, the effects of his exhausting schedule are unclear. In the beginning of 2018, the Centre D’alt Rendiment of Sant Cugat (CAR) began testing Mingote as part of its study on the impact of high altitudes and lack of oxygen on the body. These tests include jumping, monitoring differences in height and weight, anthropometric measures and testing the saturation of oxygen. His most recent expeditions to Broad Peak and K2 have shown remarkable rates of recovery in terms of weight loss and exhaustion. But he did score higher on other mountains before Broad Peak and K2, indicating some lingering effect.

According to him, he is “not a star player touched by a wand,” just someone who loves pushing his physical and mental limits, and believes that those limits are often “just in our heads.”

Atop K2. Photo: Sergi Mingote