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Winter K2 Update: Climbing Resumes – report by Alan Arnette

Nim’s [Nirmal Purja]

Nims’s personal location is unknown. Some reports had him headed to establish C3 and the ropes to C4. It appears his loss of gear at C2 was not the body blow first believed.

gelje_sherpa_on Nim’s team suggest they are ready for the summit:

“One step closer to the verge of conquering K2 in this winter. Second rotation done! Checking gears on camp 2! We team @eliteexped & @nimsdaibelieve we will write a history in mountaineering by conquering k2 on winter. Let’s challenge this winter cold and speedy wind. We are ready! Let’s the weather give us green signal to go”

Mingma G – On Hold

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa seems patient to wait it out but also eager to find out the status of his gear at C2. He says his foot injuries have completely healed. Previously, he has been aggressive with his climbing as he and his team fixed the rope to the high point of 7300-meters. He and Nims seem to have formed a tight bond. Mingma tells me directly on Tuesday, January 12 2021 around noon K2 time:

“Hi Alan I can see my tent at Black Pyramid so I hope everything is there inside the tent just below the Black Pyramid”

But contrary to my thoughts of a Saturday summit, MIngma G tells me directly:

“We have our plan together to go summit when the Camp 4 is ready. So the plan is they will fix Camp 4 first.”

He gave this general update on his Facebook page:

“Weather is good but little bit windy up there. Muhammad Ali and team fixed lines till camp1, 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.”

Snorri – BC or Above

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali remain at Base Camp according to their tracker, but he may have chosen to leave it there. He praises his Pakistani teammates by passing on this message from them to me:

“We are very happy for the opportunity as a Pakistani to be here at K2 and have chance to hold the Pakistani flag first in Winter. Because K2 is one of the precious gift by Allah Almighty to us. So as a Pakistani we will try our best to summit our K2”

They have been there since mid-December so they must be anxious to make some real progress.

Seven Summits Treks – Some Climb, Others Not

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team of 22 clients and 27 Sherpas in support is the wild card. Chhang Dawa Sherpa, director of Seven Summit Treks has been in base camp coordinating the logistics but now he has decided to leave BC and join the climb.

Remember that he helped Nims with his 8000er project by providing all the logistics, so their bond is tight.

Other members of the SST team have left BC for C1 and C2 on acclimatization rotations as they have not been high enough for a summit bid, except for the professional climbers. However many of them are not using supplemental oxygen, so it would be very risky to attempt the summit at this point.

The key will be if the strong SST Sherpas can establish C4, then set the line through the Bottleneck and Traverse, the members might be able to follow.

Alex Gavan gave a nice, complete update on their plans.

“…Initially the departure was scheduled for this morning but after many moments of consultation we all decided that the wisest is to resume the rise a day later. … So tomorrow morning I will start again towards the heights of the K2 together with Tamara but also with our friends Sergi Mingote (Spain) and Juan Pablo Mohr (Chile), both elite climbers, together with whom I am happy to share the rise. Sergi climbed Gashebrum 2-8035 m on the same day with me in 2019, and Juan Pablo I’ve known him for a few good years.”

Evacuation and Health Issues

And the Spanish alpinist Luis Carlos Garranzo has been helicoptered from K2 Base Camp suffering from dehydration after he didn’t recover from GI issues. He was quite experienced with expeditions Everest, Gasherbrudum Peak, K2, and Lhotse. He is the third evacuee this season along with Polish Waldemar Kowalewski, suffering from a pre-existing hernia, and an unidentified Sherpa. There have been health issues with other climbers including Bulgarian Atanas Skatov from Bulgaria who had GI problems but recovered after a 5-day antibiotic course.

Header: Nirmal Purja assesing the damages at Camp 2 after the storm

Source: Alan Arnette