For the Nepali climbers, the most difficult part of the climb may prove to be the descent, executed in a state of oxygen-starved exhaustion, achieved by rappelling several miles of fixed rope to reach true safety on the glacier at the foot of the mountain.
All 10 Nepali climbers are now safely back at Base Camp.
Last night, Gelje Sherpa and Sona Sherpa reached BC in a marathon 36-hour push, while the other eight decided to rest at Camp 3.
For every three climbers who reach the summit of K2, approximately one dies somewhere on the mountain—and many of those fatalities occur while going down.
As of 10 p.m. local time, social media updates report that the entire team had safely reached Camp 3, where they were resting for a few hours before continuing down.
“This Nepalese Winter K2 Expedition is for the nation,” Mingma G wrote on social media.
The ascent highlights a new generation of Indigenous climbers who are succeeding on ambitious high-altitude climbs relying on sponsorships, social media, and GoFundMe pages to finance their efforts rather than just carrying loads for commercial expeditions.
A staggering feat and especially important for the entire Nepalese climbing community, the entire team waited and then stepped onto the summit together while singing the Nepalese national anthem.
Nims’ [ Nirmal Purja]:
“What a journey. I’m humbled to say that, as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions,” said Purja. “We set out to make the impossible possible and we are honoured to be sharing this moment, not only with the Nepalese climbing community, but with communities all across the world.
“Mother Nature always has bigger things to say and standing on the summit, witness to the sheer force of her extremities, we are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible. Thank you for the support we’ve received from people all around the globe, it gave us fire in our chest to make this goal a reality.”
Yet unlike Mount Everest and other popular high-altitude summits, K2’s extreme steep faces demand strong technical skills while simultaneously exposing climbers to frequent rockfall and avalanches. While more than 4,000 people have reached the summit of Everest, only 367 people had climbed K2 as of June 2018. But none had done so in winter conditions.
To reach K2’s summit, the team endured temperatures in excess of -58 degrees and gale-force winds while ascending the Abruzzi Spur on the mountain’s southern flank.
Since the first winter attempt in 1987, only a handful of winter expeditions have been made on K2 but none of them made it to above 7,650m.
First photo of K2 Winter ❄️ Ascent, Sona Sherpa holding the banner of Seven Summit Treks on the top of Mt. K2 on 16 Jan 2021 – 16:58 local time.
Source: Chhang Dawa Sherpa- Facebook
General Javad FCNA Gilgit, visited the Basecamp of K2, to greet and to congratulate the team for successful climb of Mt. K2 in winter ❄️.
With his (team) support, the body of Sergi (retrieved by Sherpas) has been sent to Skardu by army chopper flight.
Source: Chhang Dawa Sherpa- Facebook
Please note: Sona Sherpa is the only member of Seven Summit Treks who made the successful summit on K2.
- Nirmal Purja Pun Magar aka Nimsdai
- Gelje Sherpa
- Mingma David Sherpa
- Mingma Tenzi Sherpa
- Dawa Temba Sherpa
- Pem Chhiri Sherpa
MIngma G’s team:
- Mingma G
- Kilu [Kili] Pemba Sherpa
- Dawa Tenjing Sherpa
- Sona Sherpa
Image: Nirmal Purja – Nims’ (left) and Chhang Dawa Sherpa, Nepali expedition manager and team leader – SST (right) at K2 Base Camp
“Leadership isn’t always about what you want. Building an inspiring vision is key. The decision to hit the summit was a tough one. It was one of the hardest push ever, no denial. There had been close calls where team members nearly turned around due to the extreme cold. But everyone was pushing themselves to the edge of their limits for a purpose; a common goal, to make the K2 winter happen, to make the last greatest mountaineering challenge happen, with a positive power and honour.”
“Standing on the summit, witnessing to the sheer force of the extremities of mother nature was exhilarating. Thank you for the support we’ve received from people all around the globe, it gave us fire in our chest to make this goal a reality.”
“17 Jan 2021 (afternoon), Jangbu Sherpa who was injured on his head (15th Jan) due to rockfalls in higher camp is in Skardu now. Today, with the help of Amry’s chopper flight we were able send him back.”
“He had medical treatment (bandages) by the Dr. at the basecamp on 15th, 16th took rest under the observation and today went for the further treatment to the hospital in Skardu. Soon he will fly back to Nepal.”
“Jangbu is an experienced climber who climbed Everest multiple time, Cho Oyu, Kangchenjunga, Manaslu and other 8000m peaks.”
“Wish him a quick recovery !”