Some Climbers in Pakistan Doing K2 First

Climbing multiple 8,000m peaks in a season is harder in Pakistan than it is in Nepal. Apart from the usual risks and hardships, climbers must add the unpredictable Karakoram weather, longer approaches, and no helicopters. That is, unless they manage to obtain permission and pay about five times more than they do in Nepal.

Such climbers will need good luck but also careful planning and strategy. In commercial climbing, the outfitter provides those last two elements.

Mingma G ahead again

Expedition leaders are doing their best to hurry. “Our Sherpa team will fly to K2 Base Camp on June 13 and 14,” Mingma G told ExplorersWeb. “We are still in talks with other operators, but we may take the lead on the rope-fixing work this season.”

Mingma G two weeks ago on the summit of Makalu, which he reached without oxygen. Photo: Mingma G

 

The leader of Imagine Nepal confirmed that while Broad Peak is on their horizon, their main focus this summer is K2. They will also attempt Nanga Parbat in the off-season, during the second half of August.

“I have been on Nanga Parbat both in June and September, and I feel August-September is a better time to climb that mountain,” Mingma G said.

K2 first

In addition to better conditions, Imagine Nepal’s strategy fits well with one of its members: Jill Wheatley of Canada. The visually impaired climber has attracted less attention than some other peakbaggers, maybe because she has not set a deadline to finish her 14×8,000m project. Yet she summited Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, and Makalu this past spring. Now, before the summer ends, she hopes to add K2, Broad Peak, and Nanga Parbat.

This order of peaks allows Wheatley and others to finish the hardest one first. It also indirectly extends the summer climbing season. Climbers who start with Nanga Parbat then have to hurry to finish K2 and Broad Peak before unstable weather hits the Karakoram in August.

Wheatley has been living and training in Nepal, trail running and improving her ice climbing skills. She is in shape and still well-acclimatized enough to tackle the three mountains on her summer list swiftly.

Wheatley praises expedition leader Mingma G. “He has perfectly scheduled each of my four 8,000’ers so far,” she said.

True summit of Manaslu done

Jill Wheatley (rear) traverses back from the true summit of Manaslu last fall. Photo: Jill Wheatley

 

Wheatley’s 8,000m list already features a key trophy: As a member of Imagine Nepal’s team last fall, she was one of the few who reached the actual summit of Manaslu.

“I am so grateful I made it last year! This season, the peak may be too crowded,” Wheatley said.

Nepal’s authorities have issued certificates to all who reached the end of the fixed ropes, a significantly lower point. But The Himalayan Database has stated that while they “armistice” past summits, they will no longer accept Manaslu foresummits as valid.

With so many climbers going for local records and 8,000m firsts, Wheatley’s “real Manaslu” summit, with clear proof provided by Jackson Groves’ drone footage, will be an asset for her.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides is a college-graduated journalist specializing in high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.