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Mingma G on K2 – On K2 all the pride of the Sherpa people

The Sherpas want to write their name on the first winter ascents of the 8000ers.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa has built a small team of Sherpas.

With him there will be Dawa Tenzing Sherpa and Kili Pemba Sherpa.

The Sherpa people: from the earthquake to COVID-19

For the Sherpa people their forthcoming was gloomy last year due to the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. A people, a land, which lives above all on tourism. In addition to their ancient activities such as agriculture and cattle breeding.

There are a meek people: for Sherpas it is not important to have a heroic personality, but to be meek and prudent; it is not important for them to have a great wealth, but to them it’s more important to share their soul with those who need help or to show their generosity and hospitality.

Then the advent of high altitude tourism. They have particularly a specially adapted body, no hyperventilation, and a high concentration of hemoglobin. All characteristics that allow them to live more easily above 3,000 meters above sea level.

They are the people with curved backs and usually small bodies, those who have crossed kilometers and kilometers of mountains and glaciers with their international customers. They have experiences, they have achieved businesses. Just think of that May 29, 1953, when together with New Zealander Edmund Hillary on the summit of Everest there was a Sherpa, Tenzing Norgay.

This year they have tried to propose themselves to their government so as not to sit idle and scrape together something to get by. Their idea was to clean up Mount Everest (and not only) of waste. No way. Proposal rejected.

And the recent past isn’t something that it smiled at them. How can we forget the earthquake of April 25, 2015 (magnitude 7.8) which caused more than 8,000 deaths? Material damages. An economy on its knees.

The pride of a people. The mountains have often been a terrain for demonstrating values, for redemption. Didn’t Italy’s conquest of K2 in ’54, by a nation wounded by World War II; don’t have their ascent on K2 also this meaning?

There will be traffic on K2 this year

Four teams at K2 base camp in this winter 2020/2021 to attempt the last obstacle. The last 8000er not to have been climbed in the cold season. In all, about fifty climbers. Some on their own way, others, at least at the first declarations, will collaborate with each other.

Mingma Gyalje and the Sherpas

And we’re up to them. The third team is captained by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa! A team, in fact, of all Sherpas. The Sherpas want to be the first on an 8000er in winter, alone. And what better challenge than K2?

The team launched a campaign on the GoFundMe platform to support the cost of shipping. Departure mid-December, return expected by February 28th. They will go up from via Abruzzi Spur *route (South East Ridge). First climbed by Italians in 1954, this is the closest to a “normal” route on K2, but is still very difficult and statistically the most dangerous. They will progress like this: Base Camp (5400m), Camp 1 (6000m), Camp 2 (6700m), Camp 3 (7500m), Camp 4 (7954m).

Nepal is the proud home of eight of the fourteen 8000ers. While many Nepalese Sherpa are considered superhuman mountaineers, no Sherpa was part of a first winter ascent on any of the 8000ers. K2 remains the only 8000ers not summited in winter. Hopefully, our 2020/21 winter expedition will put a Nepalese Sherpa on K2’s summit.

Tourism and mountaineering are vital sources of income for the Sherpa community, but there was little in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic brought world tourism to the ground and became a nightmare for the Sherpa community. In such a difficult time, our Nepalese Sherpa team are taking the initiative to make the first winter ascent on K2 to inspire and celebrate the entire Sherpa community.

We believe that Mingma G’s team is still the best positioned in this race. If the equipment stored at Camp 2 has survived (the tent in particular) and they can still catch a favorable weather window, the three Sherpa are able to reach the summit this year.

Note: their Camp 2 is bit higher than lower and upper Camp2 so the stored equipment may not have been damaged.

Please follow them on K2 ascent with the warmest encouragement: @climbermingma

Some excerpts from their journal, please read carefully to understand the real situation:

Today [January 11]

“We are waiting in Base camp for good weather to come. Weather forecast keeps on changing so we will stay here in base camp for more days.”

Yesterday [January 10]

“We remained inside the tent for 7 days because of high wind and clouds and of course low temperature. We are not sure about our camp at 7000m. We have most of our gears in our Camp2 which is just below Black Pyramid. If the tent was blown away then we are done to go back home. Hope our tent is there and everything is inside the tent. Today @nimsdai and team went to Camp 2 to check their gears and deposit some equipment to camp2.

Our Camp 2 is bit higher than lower and upper Camp 2 so it is not possible to go up and down in a day.

Weather is changing, we hope we get good weather to go and fix higher camp.”

January 7

“This is video from around 7100m, After 300 rope fixing above Black Pyramid. We had cold and Little windy day but we made it possible to reach 7300m.

Since 31st Dec 2020, we have been staying in base camp waiting for another good window to go and deposit our equipment to Camp 3 and try to fix Camp 4.”

“Minga G tells me the ropes are up to 7300-meters, a bit higher than the previous estimate. However, with the big winds and everyone at Base Camp, it feels a bit academic at the moment.” – so as already announced by Alan Arnette on January 8, the ropes have already been installed above the Camp 2 “traditional” elevation.

One question is whether they are still in place.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa seems patient to wait it out:


January 12:

“[…] we fixed lines from Camp 1 to Camp 3 and in this window @nimsdai and 7 summit team will fix line to camp4. They will also help us check our gears at 7000m. Everything is ok here.”

“We are waiting in Base camp for good weather to come. Weather forecast keeps on changing so we will stay here in base camp for more days.”

January 11:

“He is not 100% certain of his gear at traditional Camp 2, above House Chimney but said they stashed it all behind a rock wall (which is where we had our tent in 2014) and felt it was as sheltered as best it could be. He will know definitely when he or some else goes there.” – as noted by Alan Arnette.

According to our estimate, most likely, Mingma G’s team will be able to check the situation on January 14 or 15 – according to the weather forecast.

We do not believe that an attempt to climb the peak this month is feasible.

Header: Mingma G and his ALL SHERPA Team