Winter K2 Team On the Move — To the Summit?

The team on K2 is on the move, and this time the goal is — well, as far up as possible.
The frontline team of Chhiring Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, Furi Sherpa, Ngimatendi Sherpa, and Ningma Dorje Tamang left today at 1 am, intending to pass by ABC and reach Camp 1. They will fix above Camp 2 as they go. Nima Gyalzen and Muhammad Sharif will follow with Grace Tseng one day later.

Climbing around a serac. Frame of a video by Nima Gyalzen Sherpa


“The guides will fix Camp 3 and above,” reported outfitter Summit Karakoram. While no one is uttering the words “summit push”, guide Nyma Gyalzen Sherpa recently implied that given the time constraints, their next move might be all the way to the top.

They had wanted to set up Camp 3 on their previous rotation three days ago, but strong winds pushed them back down from Camp 2.

For their plan to succeed, they will need a long spell of unusually gentle weather — five to six days, said Gyalzen. Multimodel forecasts, such as the one by below, show dry conditions, but also high winds on the upper sections.

Weather forecast on the summit of K2 (8,611m) shows dry but windy conditions.

Decision time at Camp 3

The guides should be able to reach Camp 2 tomorrow and start fixing up the Black Pyramid toward Camp 3. Once (and if) they get there, they will pitch the tents and supply the camp with gear, fuel, and oxygen. Then they will have to make some important decisions. Should they try to get higher? If so, should they set up a fourth camp?

The Nepali team that summited K2 last winter didn’t use one, but they were a large, strong team climbing in astonishingly good weather. On the other hand, we will never know if the tragic end to the second summit push on February 5, 2021 would have ended differently with a Camp 4 in place.