I was able to connect with Mingma Gyalje Sherpa today as he arrived in Skardu from his K2 summit. The Pakistani government generously flew his three-person team from K2 Base Camp.
He shared how the [summit] day unfolded. They left Camp 3 around 2:30 am on Saturday, January 16, 2021 in good weather. The winds began to pick up as they approach the location of traditional Camp 4 around 25,000-feet. They took a break at 5:00 am and tried to warm up.
Mingma said he was extremely cold and ready to quit.
He tried call one of his teammate, Dawa Tenjing, on the radio but couldn’t get through so he continued. He said it was good the call failed to connect because he would have stopped otherwise.
After another two hours, now about 7, the sun rose and Minima said he began to warm up and pushed higher.
I [Alan Arnette] asked him to compare climbing in summer and winter. He spoke of hard packed snow and ice that made gaining purchase with crampons a bit easier than in summer with softer snow. He also mention they never feared avalanches. They had no problems fixing the rope through the Bottleneck and across the Traverse.
The down-climb was straight forward using the fixed topes all the way to Camp 3.
He said the plan all along was for one person to not use supplemental oxygen.
He said by the time he reached Camp 4 on summit day, he was extremely tired and decided to start using supplemental oxygen, also he had been very cold.
They plan to return to Kathmandu next week.
Header: Mingma G on K2 Summit
Source: Alan Arnette