K2 winter climbing season concludes with glorious summit, several deaths

Islamabad, Feb 10 (EFE).- The winter climbing season at Mt. K2 concluded Wednesday, marked by glory and tragedy, as climbers succeeded in an unprecedented winter ascent of the world’s second highest peak (8,611 meters), while two other lost their live and three remain missing.

Alpine Club of Pakistan’s secretary Karrar Haidri told EFE that the Seven Summits expedition was on its way back to the locality of Skardu after having to call off their expedition due to bad weather.

The leader of the expedition, Chhang Dawa Sherpa, explained on his Facebook page that the forecasts of bad weather for the next seven days had prompted them to call off their attempt to scale K2.

“Our expedition is off,” he said in Nepali.

Bad weather has also prevented helicopter flights for the second consecutive day in conducting search operations for Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr, Iceland’s John Snorri and Pakistan’s Ali Sadpara, who have been missing from K2 since Friday.

The Pakistani authorities have said the search will resume once the weather conditions improve.

The K2, with a near perfect pyramid shape, is known as the “Savage Mountain” given the difficulty in climbing it, and weather conditions during winter can reach -50 degrees with winspeeds of 90 kilometers per hour.

So far only 377 mountaineers have successfully scaled the second highest peak in the world, and 88 have died in the attempt since Italy’s Achille Compagnoni became the first person to climb it in 1954.

The Himalayan peak, on the border of China and Pakistan, was the last of the world’s 14 highest mountains, all over 8,000 meters, never to be scaled in winter.

Some 55 climbers from different countries were looking to make the first ever winter ascent of the peak when the climbing season began in December. The feat was finally achieved by 10 Nepalese sherpas on Jan.16

The 10 climbers who made history were Nirmal Purja, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzing Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Tempba Sherpa, Mingma G, Dawa Tenjin Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa and Sona Sherpa.

However, their achievement was marred by the death of Spain’s Sergi Mingote on the same day due to a fall.

On Friday, Burgarian mountaineer Atanas Georgiev Skatov too died due to an accident on K2, while Mohr, Snorri and Sadpara’s team lost contact with them and their GPS locators.

Finding them alive after more than 90 hours in such hostile conditions appears next to impossible, although many still hope for a miracle. EFE


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