Nepali climbers become first to reach Mount K2 summit in winter: Significance, challenges and everything to know

By: |
January 27, 2021 1:33 PM

First scaled successfully in 1954, all the successful expeditions that K2 had witnessed till now took place only during warmer months.

mount k2The climbers’ trek lasted for a week and covered a distance of 90 km. (Image: Reuters)

Mount K2 climb: Recently, a group of mountaineers from Nepal became the first ever climbers to scale the Mount K2 peak in the winter. The K2 is the second highest peak in the world, after Mount Everest, standing tall at a height of 8,611 metres. First scaled successfully in 1954, all the successful expeditions that K2 had witnessed till now took place only during warmer months. The peak, which is located on the border of China and the Gilgit-Baltistan region occupied by Pakistan, had only seen six attempts of scaling during winter before this, but each attempt had been unsuccessful, according to a report in IE.

Why is the feat by Nepali mountaineers significant?

Citing climbing guide Freddie Wilkinson, the report said that the feat of scaling Mount K2 during winter was the only great prize left in high-altitude mountaineering.

Not only that, but climbing K2 is highly formidable, which is why it has also been called the ‘Savage Mountain’. Fierce winds, danger of avalanches and forbidding temperatures are among the major challenges that the second highest peak in the world poses to those who wish to scale it. The report cited an article in the NYT to state that for every four successful climbers reaching the summit of K2, one climber dies. Moreover, not even 400 mountaineers have been able to successfully scale the peak, and in fact, more number of people have been to space than those who have reached the summit of K2.

How was the plan formed?

The plan was devised last summer in Seven Summit Trek company’s office after mountaineering activities had come to a halt due to COVID-19 restrictions. During the meeting, the climbers and Sherpa discussed the role that the mountaineers would play during the restrictions, and decided that they would scale K2 in winter.

Ultimately, the team of 10 climbers, all of which hailed from Nepal, scaled the peak at 4:56 pm on January 16.

The trek

The climbers’ trek lasted for a week and covered a distance of 90 km. During the expedition, the climbers faced temperatures as low as -65 to -70 degrees Celsius, and it was made harder due to the blue ice and rocks that they had to work with. However, the team is hopeful that the confidence they gained during the trek would inspire others in the future. The climbers also made it through a passage known as the Bottleneck, where they had to be careful not to move too fast as that could cause eventual death due to constriction of pulmonary blood vessels.

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