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Winter K2 Update: Snorri Summit Push STALLED

UPDATE 3: “We are back in BC and all of us are safe and sound. After 17 hours ascent from BC to almost C3 we decided to stop and rest. At that time it was clear to us the strong winds came sooner then expected. This morning when we were packing our tent ALi’s backpack blew away and exploded. We manage to safe some of the things in the backpack but lost our summit mask. Still we are feeling well and already started to plan our next summit push. The window we are looking at is the 3rd to 5th of February. Ali and his son Sajid are amazing partners in the mountain, they are extremely strong and confident in there actions.” – John Snorri


“Their GPS tracker showed they reached 6,812.29 m/22,350-ft. This is about the middle of the Black Pyramid. It’s very unclear where they camped. Some reports suggest a “lower Camp 3” which would be in the Pyramid itself. This would be a new camp in my experience.” – Alan Arnette

UPDATE 2: The GPS shows now the STARTING POINT [17:15 local time – Pakistan]

UPDATE 1: Winter K2 Update – Snorri Summit Push Status Unknown

I [Alan Arnette] don’t like to report this as unverified, but a rescue is reported underway.

We really don’t know their status but with the high winds, hope they are headed down.

John Snorri’s team was last reported at Camp 3 around 23,760’/7200m but their Garmin GPS tracker showed them at Camp 2 at 22,110’/6700m. After the significant promotion of his and the lauded Pakistani climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali , they and their home team have gone silent.

Muhammad Ali Sadpara is said to have accurate posts, but there are reported fakes out there and we are hearing nothing from Snorri so take all “official” and “unofficial” updates cautiously:

“Wind is catching up. The team is at 6831m waiting out the weather and assessing the situation. More updates to come. They haven’t decided to go down yet!”

My personal opinion [Alan Arnette] is they are at C2, trapped by high winds and figuring out how to down climb – not go to the summit.

There are many reasons for their potential dealy. They could be headed down and turn their tracker off for all we really know. They could be trapped by high winds, as was reported by their home team. The batteries could have expired on their GPS tracker and/or Sat phone to give updates, which is hard to believe for such a team. Or sadly something is going on they want to keep quiet until the end result is clear. Finally, they could have turned all the electronics off, to remove any outside pressure – something I would fully understand.

They left Base Camp on Saturday planning to top out on Monday, January 25, 2021, around 9 am. But were last reported to be holding at C3 (or C2) according to their home team’s social media but their GPS showed C2. At least one person, Sajid Ali Sadpara is not using supplemental oxygen, however, he said he would carry a bottle just in case.


John Snorri’s team is on their summit push. They planned to top out on Monday, January 25, 2021, around 9 am.

But are now holding at C3 according to their home team’s social media. At least one person, Sajid Ali Sadpara is not using supplemental oxygen.

Big Picture

The weather forecast remains mixed with winds under 20 mph and windchills between -50 to -60F [-45 – 50 deg.C], about as good as it gets for a winter K2 summit push.

But as we can see with Snorri’s report, the real-world can be very different.

One of the issues with forecasts, both computer-generated or human currated is the altitude resolution. In other words, forecasting winds under 20 mph is a generalization for a specific altitude, or in truth, for an entire region. Specific, localized wind events occur in bands throughout the area, especially as you higher on the mountain so Base Camp and the summit can be calm but Camp 3 can see significantly different conditions.

That seems to be what we are seeing with the Snorri et al effort.

Given the uncertainity, and already agressive schedule, it will not suprise me to see them return to BC and try again in a more realible widow.

The disparate weather could also be one of the reasons, as far as we know, there were no SST climbers who left Base Camp, however, some may slip away announced, that’s not uncommon for some climbers to talk about what they did, instead of what they planned.

Snorri – On Summit Push (previously posted)

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali are leaving for a Monday summit. John sent me a message detailing their plans:

“Plan for summit push at 2100 tonight from BC. If wind is not to strong we hope to reach summit 25th jan at 0900 in morning.”

Sajidalisadpara added:

“K2 winter our summit try will start tonight from Base camp to camp 3 25 we will try for summit push I am going without oxygen if possible I take 1 oxy for safety pray for us.”

It appears they will try to get to C3 from BC in one push arriving on the 24th, taking a short rest then the summit on the morning of the 25 targeting 9 am. This is an extremely, extremely aggressive schedule. Given that at least Sajid will not using supplemental oxygen, it will be even more difficult. The one advantage they have is that some of the route is already fixed last Saturday’s summit team.

You can follow their progress on their GPS tracker.

Source: Alan Arnette