The Mess on K2: Interview With Antonios Sykaris

K2 Winter 8000ers

Details have begun to emerge of the mess that greeted climbers at 7,400m at Camp 3, a few hours before Ali Sadpara, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo Mohr went missing on K2.

In an interview with Bulgarian radio from his hospital bed in Skardu, a frostbitten Antonios Sykaris describes 25 people in too few tents, a steep section without ropes, and the fatal fall of Bulgarian climber Atanas Skatov.

Antonios Sykaris: Atanas was very strong — he went straight from Base Camp to C2. We met in C2 and he told me again that he had a bad feeling about this expedition. I told him that everything was fine because he was very strong and technically competent.

On February 4, we went up from Camp 2. I saw Atanas and his Sherpas reach Camp 3 at 7,440m.

The big problem for all of us was that there were no tents. We were told that there are three [buried?] tents and stakes, and we need to find them. We never found a tent. In the evening, the temperature was about -40 degrees, incredibly cold. We all stayed outside and tried to figure out how to survive. I tried to get into one tent and people told me there was no room.

In the morning, I spoke with Atanas. Then he said that we were going down. He left with his Sherpa. I remember Atanas on the descent. Already at the beginning of the descent from C3, there is a rather steep slope, and there were no fixed ropes. More precisely, there were, but they were buried under snow.

I saw him go down without an ice ax. I knew that he was technically very good and he felt confident to go down without an ice ax. All this time Atanas was in my line of sight because we were going down together.

Suddenly — I cannot forget this moment — Atanas disappeared. The Sherpa came back to me and looked at me. He said: “Antonio, Antonio, Atanas has fallen, Atanas is gone. We lost him — he fell.”

Atanas was very strong, technical, and experienced. Most importantly, he was a very good person. The problem was the ropes and the winter. You are outside, it’s -40˚, imagine how weak you are.

Because of the cold, you are hungry, you are drained. It is very easy to make a mistake.

Some considerations:

  • In January, climber Ralf Dujmovits told ExplorersWeb that on K2’s upper slopes, it is essential to mark the tents’ locations properly, because drifting snow may bury them completely and they won’t be found. Dujmovits was referring to Camp 4 in summer, but the current Camp 3 (7,300m) was similar. A video from climber Noel Hanna at C3 just before they all went down shows the scene.
  • In a recent post, Colin O’Brady also notes the missing/buried ropes below C3 where Skatov fell.
  • For those who wonder why Skatov was not using an ice ax or had it packed away, many climbers have that habit, even on 8,000’ers, when on fixed ropes. Skatov was probably intending to use his on the Bottleneck and beyond, but may have felt confident enough descending from Camp 3, at least in that particular section.
  • Sykaris’s eyewitness report contradicts leader Dawa Sherpa’s Instagram claim that the accident occurred when Skatov was “changing his safety from one rope to the other” — in other words, unclipping from one fixed rope and clipping to the next.
+2

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Karen
Karen
9 months ago

I had wondered why the Bulgarian climber wasn’t clipped in and it makes sense now learning the ropes were buried. Did all of the SST climbers descend from Camp III without a rope?

+1
Abbas
Abbas
9 months ago
Reply to  Karen

I doubt that – it’d be too dangerous for a queue of people on that slope without a rope. My feeling is that have either put in a new section, or have dug it out. Antanas was alone with his Sherpa so probably didn’t make the effort – but begs the question how/what was the Sherpa doing – and Sykaris was just above – so was he not using rope too? We’ll notice there will be conflicting accounts of events – this is the common disparity everytime after a climbing disaster – i seriously think their ability to cognitively think… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
9 months ago

Going up to look for tents buried in the snow, not bringing an ice axe or worrying about it. It was an epic disaster before it even got started. Here is someone who appears to be an official giving a detailed interview about the incident. Maybe someone here can speak Urdu and summarize? He says several times that Ali Sadpara was employed by Snorri, but we already knew that. Why did he want his son to use the emergency oxygen on the way up? That is the part that disturbs me. Why did they not have a radio or phone… Read more »

Sal
Sal
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Yes, that’s what he is saying in Urdu; that Ali Sadpara was employed by John Snorri. The interviewee is a a Pakistani mountaineer Nazeer Sabir. He has climbed Mount Everest and four of the five 8000 m peaks in Pakistan, including the world’s second highest mountain K2 in 1981, Gasherbrum II 8035m, Broad Peak 8050m in 1982, and Gasherbrum I 8068m in 1992. He also goes on to say that they had a maximum of 10 hours to survive if nothing else (avalanche or some other slip/drop accident) in that frigid temperature. He also mentioned that the fake claims going… Read more »

Sikandar
Sikandar
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Hey Paul, he says that it wasn’t his personal call to attempt summit, as he was employed by Snorri. He doesn’t consider Ali for any fault in all this, as he considers him capable and experienced enough for it. Still, he doesn’t blame Snorri or JP either for this, as it was all a team effort. However, he’s of the opinion that Ali’s partners weren’t capable and sufficiently experienced/prepared to accomplish this feat. Moreover, regarding cylinder he only says that they couldn’t survive above 8000m even with oxygen for more than 10 hours. Apart from this, he says that they… Read more »

Farukh Ali
Farukh Ali
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Translation: # What would you say about Ali Sadpara’s decision to summit K2 in winter? Was it a brave or reckless decision? Answer – Ali Sadpara was employed as a HAP by John Snorri for K2 winter. It wasn’t his personal decision to go to K2 in winter. You people in social media are showing as if John Snorri was a porter but John Snorri came all the way from Switzerland and employed Ali for a HAP job. He went there to work for the money. # Life is very precious. Was Ali not aware of the danger for climbing… Read more »

Jib Jibran
Jib Jibran
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

He is Nazir Sabir, one of mountaineering legend of Pakistan. He’s saying that Ali Sadpara and his team tried to copy Nepalese, it was there mistake to do summit push from camp 3, Nepalese were well acclimatized. Ali Sadpara and team must had to spend night at 7700 meters.
and no one can survive at 8000 meters for more than 10 hours with no activity.

+1
Don Paul
Don Paul
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Hey thanks for the translations everyone. This is very sad if Ali had to let his client make the decisions. If Ali was known as a conservative climber then this must be what happened. When they didn’t go up at the same time as the Nims group, I thought they would head home. Same for the SST group. They don’t want to go up during the best weather window, then at the very end of the “official” winter there is only one possible time left, and they go for it even though it’s not as good as the one they… Read more »

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Disaster yes. But how much responsibility does SST as the support operator bear? Remember that according to Sykaris, Atanas Skatov spent the night before his accident OUTSIDE at camp 3 in -40 degree temps because there were no tents. Exposure, lack of sleep, hydration, and food likely contributed to Skatov’s tragic accident. Surely more info will come out about these horrific errors by SST, and their woeful lack of communication, but I can’t imagine any of these climbers would have climbed to camp 3 had they been told that there was no assurance that there were tents for them there.… Read more »

lstamenova
9 months ago
Reply to  MuddyBoots

Skatov was in a tent during the night. Honestly, I believe Dawa – that he clipped to an old rope by mistake. This does not exonerate SST for their mistakes of course.
You have no idea what kind of bullsh*t and conspiracies are circulling around Bulgarian media.

+1
Sidra Ashraf
Sidra Ashraf
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Farrukh Ali has translated the interview (see comments)

0
Julius
Julius
9 months ago

It would be interesting and invaluable to get an honest opinion of someone with a lot of winter experience (like Urubko or Wielicki) about this. The honest assessment of the facts would help others to prevent things like this from happening again. Due to the fear of hurting people’s feelings, the professionals do not want to comment or to objectively analyze the situation (yet). My guess is that, in proper time, they will asses this as an escapade of enthusiastic dabblers. The picture is emerging though that the people who disappeared lacked necessary experience, and therefore judgement, to make an… Read more »

Sandy
Sandy
9 months ago
Reply to  Julius

As for the others on that fateful day, the Nepali outfitter seems like an opportunistic businessman who took advantage of some westerners with cash from their sponsors. The safety of the clients was secondary to profit and in a typical Nepali outfitter style, improvisation was the order of the day which failed in the critical moment. I.e. no tents, nor clear plan of the summit attack given the abilities of the clients and the report from Nim’s team (10 men working 15 hours to get up and down in perfect conditions) and most importantly: lack of leadership Could you mention… Read more »

Dr MCS
Dr MCS
9 months ago
Reply to  Sandy

SST Promoter Chaang Dawa Sherpa…who else ??

0
Farukh Ali
Farukh Ali
9 months ago
Reply to  Julius

I agree we do need the closure and an expert insight on this situation would be welcoming. This K2 season has caused so much trauma to climbers/non-climbers who see their fellows/heroes perishing on the mountain. Perhaps this is not the right time to ask questions or talk about what may have gone wrong up there. People who are speculating by labelling it as lack of experience or poor judgement about the situation, are only causing more pain to their loved ones. They should let them mourn in peace. One thing I know about Ali (and this is from his previous… Read more »

Pit
Pit
9 months ago
Reply to  Farukh Ali

I don’t think things work like this.Don’t forget Ali was with Moro and Txikon on Nanga Parbat and other winter expeditions before.Having a HAP like Ali as a team member to strengthen the team doesn’t mean you are not capable of climbing.The same with Nims.There were 10 climbers most HAP’to get the summit done.Doesn’t mean Nims was not capable of climbing.

+1
Nat
Nat
9 months ago
Reply to  Julius

Careful Julian ,as I made the same comment a couple of days ago regarding the SST( about their death rate statistic ) and I was ripped to shreds. 😉 Btw I couldn’t agree with you more ! As of Snori he wasn’t an inexperienced climber tbf, he already tried K2 last winter, but had to turn around.

0
Pun
Pun
9 months ago
Reply to  Nat

I can appreciate SST’s for the work they have done for Nepalese mountaineers and the Sherpa community but this should be the final nail on their coffin.

Too many dead clients and too much controversy with their modus operandi.

Nepal deserves its own guide company that works for the betterment of locals, but Chhang Dawa Sherpa should realise that a new direction is needed and should probably pass the reins over. Especially after the incredible summit of the 10 Nepalese and their respective companies, the difference in operation was night and day.

+2
Nass
Nass
9 months ago
Reply to  Pun

Could you please elaborate on the “night and day” bit ?

0
Ron
Ron
9 months ago
Reply to  Julius

Until we know further details on what happened your post is judgmental conjecture based on thin air, nothing more. By your logic Alex, Tamara, and Simone are all unfit because they hired Ali in the legendary 2016 expedition. You clearly have no understanding. We have no idea what happened, and the last we heard was Sajid saying they were going at a good pace. Sajid said nothing to suggest that Ali was going against his own instincts. Saying that the deaths represented the triumph of “ego and greed” is terrible and unsubstantiated garbage. All it does is to rub salt… Read more »

Kiper
Kiper
9 months ago
Reply to  Ron

Look at it this way Ron: 5 people are dead and a few barely got away alive pursuing what turned out to be beyond their ability (driven by ego as it defies common sense).
The others, for the privilege of “living the dream and discovering their full potential”, SST charged at least $600k and provided a “Base Camp” experience (driven by greed as no real guiding services were on the menu). Unsubstantiated?

+2
Ron
Ron
9 months ago
Reply to  Kiper

Reality check, even the best make mistakes or some freak accident happens, and as a result people can die doing something well within their ability. Ueli Steck. Cala Cimenti. Thats probably what happened to Sergi and Atanas. As for the 3, again we have little to go on what happened – so stop pretending you do. What Sajid recalled goes against all this garbage conjecture: Ali was extremely motivated on that fateful day and Sajid has the view that they expected to and likely summited. https://www.geo.tv/latest/334099-my-father-ali-sadpara-is-a-survivor It does appear some of the SST clients who barely got out alive were… Read more »

Kate
Kate
9 months ago

That is a very unflattering angle in the image. What does he have up his nose?

0
Swede
Swede
9 months ago

Think it is just putlre luck not more people are dead at K2 this winter. 5 out of about 40 climbers is way below average. We knew people would die thia winter. First team that made it up and down safely-ish, set it up but like I said before, this is not Everest. This is not a mountain where 100 people can summit and only 2 dies.. this is a mountain that 1 out of r that summit dies.. and that is summer condition. Winter condition, 100 times as hard.. Im heqrtbroken for the families of the people who died,… Read more »

Claudio
Claudio
9 months ago
Reply to  Swede

Actually, is right on point of the death rate (25%) and that rate is summiters vs death so… even deadlier this time.

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Naveed
Naveed
9 months ago
Reply to  Claudio

yea… this time its 50%. 10 people summited 5 died

0
Farukh Ali
Farukh Ali
9 months ago
Reply to  Naveed

I believe it’s 33.3% death rate. Considering a total of 15 climbers out of which 5 died.

0
Anabell
Anabell
9 months ago

Those are uncomfortable discussions & blame – like in Kindergarten. The differences are for me 1) The Nepalese Team worked together & trusted each other- rightly 🇳🇵 2) NimsDai led the winter ascent & made the decisions. „If plan A fails, there was always plan B, plan B fails, there was always plan C and D, E, F, G, H“ There doesn‘t even seem to have been a plan A. The climbers didn‘t make a plan in the base camp? Colin O‘Brady notes the missing/burried ropes below C3, rather then he cares. I think this means Reinhold Messner with slopes… Read more »

Desktop Climber
Desktop Climber
9 months ago

‘The big problem for all of us was that there were no tents. We were told that there are three [buried?] tents and stakes, and we need to find them. We never found a tent.’

there are clearly 3 tents at least from Noel Hanna’s video, so that contradicts Sykaris’ statement there. of course there would always be a he said, she said when something goes wrong but this is K2. everyone knows what they were signing up to.

0
Anabell
Anabell
9 months ago

Honestly, you were there? Sorry for that question. Very unsafe base for 7.200 meters. I would have bad feelings the whole time. The climbers without summit plans could have taken a couple of tents with them. But would, have, if…

0
Nat
Nat
9 months ago

No it doesn’t. If you would of followed the whole ordeal from the beginning, you would of known that: Tent 1 was carried by John Snorri, T2 by JP, T3 by Tamara just in case. So there are your 3 tents. Other than that all the others who made it to C3 that day,stated the same. He barely escaped death tbh. Check your facts before you doubting someone’s words.

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MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
9 months ago

Sykaris did not say there were no tents at all (at camp 3), he said there were no tents/not enough tents for the SST climbers. There were other climbers there (Snorri’s team) who had their own tents. Sykaris is saying that 3 tents were missing/buried, not that there were no tents at all. Hanna’s video does not contradict the statement by Sykaris, desktop climber. If SST told their clients that there were tents for them at Camp 3, but there weren’t enough tents, then their clients did NOT know what they were signing up for! I doubt any climber would… Read more »

Marina
Marina
9 months ago

he also say “i tried to get into a tent ” etc…meaning there were no tents for them

+1
Desktop Climber
Desktop Climber
9 months ago

Muddyboots, fair enough i get your point.

Nat, you you mean the 3 tents in the video is snorri, jp and tamaras and the poeple all in the video just crashed into those tents? how did you know?

Marina, same as above.

Anabell, i dont understand what you are trying to point out.

0
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago

everything one can conceivably think of has been blamed partly for the fiasco – the lack of tents on c3, the buried ropes in a tricky section, the non-operating communication devices, dead batteries, the lack of leadership, stupid call/decision to attempt the summit from the base or from C3, the non-use of ice-axe, the small weather window that created undue pressure, stupidity to take on K2 in winter, not marking the buried tents’ locations earlier, hunger, cold, sleep deprivation, exhaustion, tendency to easily make mistakes in thin air, the relative inexperience of the climbers, not doing enough rotations for acclimatization,… Read more »

Nat
Nat
9 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

You are right! As of the 3 missing, am sure they felt strong enough to make a push. (However the news about JS not Feeling well? is concerning,maybe he had the same stomach bug as many others had?) The rest? I’m baffled tbh, that all these experienced climbers didn’t pull the plug on this shitshow by the SST sooner. I mean , if am paying that much money for someone as an expedition organizer, than I want plans how we getting things done. He had not a single one of them. He took the money, brought them there, and there… Read more »

Nat
Nat
9 months ago
Reply to  Nat

Buried( stupid autocorrect)

0
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Nat

From what I’ve learnt Ali was in the employ of John Snorrie (JS), JS was not a client of SST, so it is not SST’s business to pull the plug on their “shit-show” (as you so colorfully put it). Juan Pablo Mohr (JPM), possibly a client of SST, tagged along with Ali and JS, so was constantly in their orbit. Quite possibly JS called all the shots during their ascent of K2, because Ali is, after all, JS’s high-altitude porter, who will do as told – and it was Ali and him vs. JPM, in case there were any disagreements… Read more »

Nat
Nat
9 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

I meant the other climbers on the SST team dear Uttam, read my friend ,read.

0
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Nat

I must have misunderstood your comment. Don’t know about the other climbers on the SST team. Sure there is not much information out about what exactly went down in Camp 3 – except that there was this lack of tents. Three buried tents they were unable to find. Don’t see how this could be the cause of the deadly fiasco – the death of Atanas Skatov, who fell to his death while descending a tricky section below C3 unaided [the ropes were buried in snow, said the interviewee, contradicting Dawa Sherpa’s earlier claim Atanas fell to his death while changing… Read more »

Samson Simon Sharaf
9 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

Nazir Sabir has judged everything from a very professional perspective. Dash from C3 to Summit is workable on Everest but not K2. Its a very steep and dangerous climb to the summit, 14 hours at least from C4. When Sabir mentions 10 hours, he is referring to the dangerous course adopted. But let’s remember, there have been dangerous dashes in the past. Some worked, some partial and many in tragedy. Ali may have had this premonition. Oxygen issue eased his decision regarding Sajid. That Nepalese are making an Everest out of K2 is a discussion that must reach a logical… Read more »

Naveed
Naveed
9 months ago

Someone said Purja was the leader of the team that summited first winter K2.
Thats not correct.
Purja lost his tent..Mittons, axe, rope ..almost evrything on Camp2

The team that summited was a team of teams, SST, Elite Himalayan Guides and Purjah’s

They combined their resources and best men, led by Mingma G sherpa

0
Drewbach
Drewbach
9 months ago
Reply to  Naveed

Everyone said Nims urged them to the top when they wanted to turn around.

+1
Sophie Hall
Sophie Hall
9 months ago
Reply to  Naveed

Nims made the difference. The Nepalese climbers said that they would have turned around if it wasn’t for his leadership. The mistake was thinking that if Nims did it then so could they (even if they were strong climbers). He is superhuman so normal rules don’t apply.

+1
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Sophie Hall

Mingma G Sherpa might have been the designated leader, but when Nimsdai is around there is no mistaking the natural authority he exudes, which is even more overpowering than MG Sherpa’s. MG Sherpa and others might have given up on K2 this winter but for Nimsdai. Right now, Nimsdai has a halo-effect around him, flush from a series of successes he has notched up. He alone knows how it feels “to reach too high, too far, too soon.” He might talk endlessly about the human potential to make the impossible possible, but one cannot discount the role of luck in… Read more »

DxM
DxM
9 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

I think that K2 summit was meant to be as one of a kind event because of the combination of many factors involved. The strenght of the group as such, individual strenght and experience of the Nepalese climbers, used not only to climb for themselves but also with the clients what – I am sure – makes them better prepared because the perception of the surroundings when you are guiding someone is better than when you are being guided. Plus Mingma G and Nims combined together and a plan and the mission to do it for Nepal. Also with Nims… Read more »

Boz Šahin
Boz Šahin
9 months ago
Reply to  DxM

In which wars he was? I think you overestimated him, like no other climbers have great abilities.

0
DxM
DxM
9 months ago
Reply to  Boz Šahin

I meant that everyone has their own unique sets of abilities and the contribution of each individual made the summit possible – maybe only such a group effort of this particular group and cumulation of the experiences of these certain people made it possible and will be hard to repeat. I wrote about Nims specifically (he was i.a. in Afghanistan as part of British forces, as he mentions in his book) as he is mentioned the most, but I am absolutely not putting anyone here above another, not my intentions or place to do so.:)

+1
asho
asho
9 months ago
Reply to  Boz Šahin

He has been up your arse

0
Boz Šahin
Boz Šahin
9 months ago
Reply to  asho

You are gloryfing a man who was involved in a war as a mercenary and who was involved in destroying innocent lives. I am a Turk so i have nothing with Afghanistan, but i am against injustice. Still i could screw his and your little arse every day and twice on Sunday :D.

0
ClimbingCommunity
ClimbingCommunity
9 months ago
Reply to  Sophie Hall

There’s no such thing as superhuman, girl.

0
Jay
Jay
9 months ago
Reply to  Naveed

Mingma G is very risk-averse and that was perhaps why he had some conflict with Snorri when they attempted K2 in 2019/20. Maybe that is what makes him experienced but Nimsdai really pushed the team hard this time. I agree Nims needs to calm down a bit now. Heard he is already planning for a surprise.

0
Nitazoxanida
Nitazoxanida
9 months ago

What about a rumor that Nims and the Nepali team removed the ropes when coming down from the summit? Maybe SST, Ali, JP, Snorri and other climbers believed they would find ropes intact. Even with 36 in of snow, you can find the fixing points, dig and clip. My question is: What are the ethics of removing the ropes – if Nims team did – in this situation, knowing a lot of people would come up days later…?

0
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Nitazoxanida

Did you not read the above article? See Antonios Sykaris’s account, wherein he says:

[clip] “Already at the beginning of the descent from C3, there is a rather steep slope, and there were no fixed ropes. More precisely, there were, but they were buried under snow ….” [clip]

+1
Jay
Jay
9 months ago
Reply to  Nitazoxanida

Coming down they knew they were the first ones to reach the summit on winter. Why would anyone.. *sigh*

0
Don Paul
Don Paul
9 months ago
Reply to  Nitazoxanida

It’s an evil rumor. It’s also kind of dumb. The Nepalis barely got down alive. Millions of dollars were spent on this trip. Why would they spend the time and energy removing hundreds of pounds of ropes and carrying them down? The SST expedition was financed by people who thought they could just jumar fixed ropes to the top.

+1
Bulgarian seaman
Bulgarian seaman
9 months ago

Dear Angela, please continue digging for the truth, The dr.Skatov sister launched her private investigation regarding accident. Seems to be the versions are changing more faster than ever. She mentioned that there are some strange things, which she has to confirm before revealing to the masses. Here some points of view from the people invited for the summit but not attended due to price over a 100k$. “In the first place looks like the plans were no one else to summit the peak using the ropes left behind from 1st success, due to this many of them seems to be… Read more »

anon
anon
9 months ago

I saw an interview of the Nepali team. They got their weather prediction from a Nepali meteorologist who used to work at the Kathmandu Airport who predicted a fine weather when all the foreigners were getting a bad weather prediction and they proceeded forward while the foreigners chose to stay put in the camp. Later, the weather condition deteriorated and the foreigners who were supposed to be just behind the first team were unable to catch up.

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Mila
Mila
9 months ago
Reply to  anon

Hmm this explains why the others did not try for the summit in January.

0
Dr MCS
Dr MCS
9 months ago
Reply to  anon

You are correct…Nepalese trusted their rookie Meteorologist’s prediction & went up.

0
Samson Simon Sharaf
9 months ago

In a fall on a traverse around 7900M on Hidden Peak Gashebrum 1 in August 1982, we had no ropes. It was evening and the sun bright. Ice on traverse had thawed. I slipped, triggered a small avalanche, tumbled 150m below on 70 degree slope, but my ice axe luckily anchored. I was all alone and this was a self rescue. I lost one crampon and had a very tough time descending from Camp 3 to camp 1. Muhammad Ali who died after summit on K2 in 1986 and Felix Oppenhiem from Sweden belayed me. An 18 hours descent from… Read more »

Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago

Like the way you put it: “An ice axe in hand in Karakoram is like a soldier’s rifle”. Very true: Smallest errors can have outsized – even fatal- consequences on K2.

+1
Farukh Ali
Farukh Ali
9 months ago

Thanks for sharing that with us. Huge respect to Felix for belaying you. Since you mentioned the importance of an ice axe in Karakoram, this brings me back to Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger’s G-1 winter 2020 expedition. Moro was belayed to Tamara when he fell in the crevasse, he didn’t have his ice axe on him. The fall was arrested by Tamara and Moro took out the ice axe from his bag pack and climbed his way up. Just another example why it’s very important to keep the ice axe in hand in Karakoram.

+2
Sean
Sean
9 months ago

Why people with families wanna climb this mountain is beyond me. It’s just moronic.

+2
Phipu
Phipu
9 months ago

I guess the mistake is always the same in those high altitude expedition fatalities. Climbers forget the basic rules and judgements of mountaineering. The things you learn on day 1 if you start proper mountaineering. Instead the thoughts are different. They paid a lot for the trip, they have already come that far, the glory is big. In no way would anyone decide to go further up based on evaluating the 3 pilars “human”,”condition” and “terrain”. All three of these judgements pilars would have raised a huge red flags that day. So no real change or analysis needs to be… Read more »

Bulgarian seaman
Bulgarian seaman
9 months ago

We should stop trusting sherpas/companies at all,they are doing job for money( a big money), taking care for their lives and eventually you will be the last.
Go climbing with team, trusted people who will support you, lets the sherpas bring the equipment and that’s all, otherwise you can be the next!
“Something went wrong”

+1
Anabell
Anabell
9 months ago

This is a racist comment, who defamed an entire ethnic group! Freedom of speech are valuable goods, but one should remove such comments. Alone Migma David Sherpa rescued more than 100 injured climbers. Sergio Mignote fall 600 meters (probably not on a rope), Atanas probably not on a rope or mistake while changing his safety, Juan Pablo Mohr went up with the Snorri-Team.

0
Alex
Alex
9 months ago
Reply to  Anabell

I think he means the sherpa owned operators like SST, not the ethnic group or the individual… they might be good in the mountain and everything, but for what its worth seem to lack in the organisational/leadership part…

+2
Lyuba
Lyuba
9 months ago

I agree with all of the comments above about the combination of factors and errors that obviously led to this horrible disaster. It is important to analyze and talk about these issues in order to learn and try to avoid such situations in the future. But I do realize that such analyses are difficult for the families and friends of those that lost their lives chasing their dreams. In my humble opinion but based on my experience on smaller mountains, I believe that a commercial expedition is not a good idea for K2. K2 is a league of its own… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
9 months ago
Reply to  Lyuba

They jumar up fixed lines on the biggest mountain on every continent and think it makes them top level climbers. I think this expedition was full of “seven summits” course graduates. But it’s only experience in jumaring, being cold, and doing what they’re told.

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Abs
Abs
9 months ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Agree with this comment.. I think they put K2 and its winter weather in the same league as other mountains.. is not, this is K2 not any other tall mountain.. Plus the level is skill and endurance required in winter is above normal.. I can agree on some climbers having the skills, but the stamina, endurance and will to face the winter climb .. I only think the Sherpa people have it. I would think Ali Sadpara also realised this high up and through some miracle sent his son down.. They knew they were on a dangerous journey from that… Read more »

MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
9 months ago
Reply to  Lyuba

I agree about commercial operators on these most challenging peaks. More than 20 years ago Jon Krakauer wrote powerfully about the problems created–even for experienced mountaineers–when guides and commercial operators create the impression that a climb is supported and made safe by fixed lines, oxygen, and guides and support sherpa/HAPs. It’s a change in mentality that erodes the responsibility and self-reliance that climbers in these extreme environments need. Part of the problem is these expeditions do get novice climbers that could never climb on their own, or whose experience is not sufficient. But even very experienced climbers like Krakauer found… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
9 months ago

They’re going to use a C-130 and other technology explained in this video in Urdu

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w2D9cWYI40

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Senoep
Senoep
9 months ago

Antonios Sykaris said there were no ropes (buried). SST said he fell while moving the safety from one rope to another. Saikali said he fell because of a broken rope (this is the official cause of death).

+2
Abs
Abs
9 months ago
Reply to  Senoep

If broken rope was the case, then that broken rope would have been mentioned by other climbers coming down the same section.. no one mentions replacing it fixing that, also the Sherpa himself who was with Astanas came up the same section to advise Sykaris.

I can believe in rope being buried and Asnatas not using his axe.. but no rope or broken rope seems less believable..

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ClimbingCommunity
ClimbingCommunity
9 months ago

I don’t believe Nims climbed the whole way up without supplemental O2. The Nepalise said that they’ll post more photos, but no photos yet. Maybe he even didn’t climb it without supplemental oxygen, no witnesses – except his Nepalese brothers who would do everything for their “Nepal winter k2” project. If you ask me, too many controversies this year on K2.

+5
Abs
Abs
9 months ago

As absurd as your comment may sound.. we will never know because they were an intimate group of 10 and what happened between them stays between them. However, there are a couple of pictures of Nimsdai with a lot of ice around his face abs jacket which points to no mask being used..

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Magar
Magar
9 months ago

This seems pretty unlikely considering Mingma G admitted to using O2 despite not wanting to use it initially.

If Nims lied about his use of O2, why wouldn’t Minmga G do it as well? And if he was honest enough to admit he was struggling enough to use O2, why lie for someone else’s sake

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Dale W
Dale W
9 months ago
Reply to  Magar

Whatever you think of Nims style in all aspect of his published life, I think he has integrity and wouldn’t lie.
He is a fit strong bloke with high stamina, the pics of him post K2 summit are the worst photos I’ve seen of him…..he looks buggered (compare to last years summit pics on 14 x 8000m).
My guess would be he summited with no Os and the other 9 assisted him with his descent.

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Dale W
Dale W
9 months ago

Pretty sure they are making a film, that’s no doubt why there is a lack of images.
They’ll be a big thing made about it when it is released.

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Bill Bones
9 months ago

Icefall, rockfall, avalanche, i guess we’ll never know, i doubt even their remains will be found
RIP

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Jodie
Jodie
9 months ago

That sounds like a certain dubious company known for playing fast and loose with ppls lives are just trying to cover up the fact they contributed to Atanas’ death. Then try to lie about it?! No ropes?!? Not enough tents? Wow crazy at the best of times but in the dead of winter? Suicide.

+1
Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Jodie

Who contributed to Atanas’ death? Very loaded question. Did not his family that let him take up high-altitude mountaineering contribute, did not his friends/fans who cheered him on to attain greater heights contribute, did not his hometown that gave him a hero’s welcome contribute, did not the companies that sponsored his mountaineering challenges contribute, did not the Pakistani government that issued his climbing permit contribute, did not SST that took him on as a client contribute, did not his own overconfidence in negotiating the tricky section below C3 without an ice axe instead of using the buried ropes contribute ….… Read more »

Lisa
9 months ago

This article (unfortunately german language only) includes an interview with Tamara Lunger. She says some unexperienced climbers were attracted by Seven Summits by a special dumping winter rate of 35.000$ only. She also reports chaotic planning and the lack of tents.

https://www.google.de/amp/s/amp.dw.com/de/bergdrama-am-k2-in-pakistan-drei-bergsteiger-vermisst/a-56499830

+2
MuddyBoots
MuddyBoots
9 months ago
Reply to  Lisa

Thank you, good article. If you use Chrome as a browser the optional translation to English is pretty good. Here are 2 google-translated excerpts with Lunger’s comments on those 2 points: “On the other hand, the commercial Nepalese expedition operator Seven Summit Treks had lured some mountaineers with little or no eight-thousand-meter experience to Pakistan – with a “dumping price” of around $ 35,000, half as much as usual in the summer season. In the past, almost only top mountaineers were found on eight-thousanders in winter, no paying customers from commercial tour operators. Especially not on K2, which is one… Read more »

Bulgarian seaman
Bulgarian seaman
9 months ago

The Bulgarian government officials (minister of foreign affairs) confirmed that in the report regarding dr.Skatov death have been written cause of death: Broken rope.
In coversion with Bulgarian prime minister the Chief Sherpa denied, but in the documents is written.
I believe the truth will comes out and justice serve to those responsible for their negligence.

p.s Please journalist’s go further with interviews of all participants, including sherpas.

+1
Lyuba
Lyuba
9 months ago

I also read the official death certificate. The cause of death is: severe head trauma, multiple fractures and blood loss. In brackets it is indeed mentioned that it was due to a broken rope, which is not possible for a doctor to determine. Fist of all, the doctor was not on the mountain and no investigation has been done, second of all a broken rope is not a medical term for cause of death. You can have a broken rope and not die. A broken rope doesn’t cause death, traumas and fractures, etc do. Most probably the doctor was asked… Read more »

Bicio
Bicio
9 months ago

Why go down a steep slope at 7.440 meters with no ice ax ? rope buried ? ok, did’t the sherpas or anybody else have any additional ropes ?? What is this? a joke ?

+1
Adil Anin
Adil Anin
9 months ago

I want to ask if someone has been tried for homicide on a mountain expedition before, look I’m not saying something of this nature has happened in this particular expedition but imagine negligence or a fight or just a disagreement between people on such an altitude where no one is seeing you.This thought passed to me because there are conflicting versions of stories every time a disaster strikes on mountains. Finding truth is surely no less than a crime scene imo…

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Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago
Reply to  Adil Anin

Ya, K2 has committed quite a many homicides, with possibly the highest homicide rate per every successful summit, amongst the eight thousanders. No wonder she was referred to as “a savage mountain that tries to kill you” by George Bell. She should be locked up for good, you know. Hehe!

+2
Last edited 9 months ago by Uttam
Rebe
Rebe
4 months ago
Reply to  Uttam

He surely refers to mountaineers not telling the truth of the accounts. A wild mountain such K2 would never commit an homicide… Leave the mountain alone! The only mistakes are human provoked.

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