I’ll use this page to track the current 2019 summit push on K2.
Latest Headlines 05:30 July 24 K2 Time
Dawa Sherpa posted that the SST rope fixer are 200 meter below K2’s summit meaning they are past the avalanche prone area/
Dawa Sherpa told me that their Sherpa team reached C4 2:30pm on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. They hope to reach to summit Wednesday morning safely and return base camp. This suggest the SST Sherpas are working with Nirmal Purja as expected.
Adrian Ballinger reports to me that it is only his team and Nirmal Purja‘s at camp 4. They intend to leave for the summit push at 10 pm local time and they should summit between 10 and noon on July 24th. It should take around 20 hours round trip.
Arrived at c4 in amazing wx. Just Nirmal Purja team and our team here. Climbed in long sleeve t and liner gloves and no down suit to 7800 today, pretty special. Possible good news… big wind event yesterday looks Like it may have stripped dangerous slope. Let’s see tonight…but I now see a whole lot more ice and rock
The teams consist of;
- Adrian Ballinger, Ecuadorians Carla Perez, Topo Mena and Sherpas Pemba Gelje Sherpa and Namgye Sherpa
- Nirmal Purja‘s and four Sherpas: Lakpadendi Sherpa, Gesman Tamang, Changba Sherpa and Lakpa Temba Sherpa
No update from the large Seven Summits Treks aka SST team. They had said they had close to 30 people also aiming for the summit on the 24th per their posts but with them not at Camp 4 they may have slipped a day. Nirmal Purja had asked for everyone to stay behind for safety reasons. UPDATE: Dawa Sherpa of SST now says their rope team is at C4.
Other climbers hoping to still summit include Spanish climber Lina Quesada of Spain and Hungarian climbers Szilárd Suhajda and Dávid Klein.
Last week the SST Sherpa tried to fix the rope but triggered avalanches. Another effort was made by Imagine Nepal’s Minga Sherpa’s team but also turned back. It was though that 2019 might end with no summits similar to two of the last four years but Super Gurkha/Sherpa Nirmal Purja was nabbing his 8th and 9th summits of his Project Possible on GI/II was not able to contribute to the initial effort. Now that he is on K2, he feels confident yet still apprehensive that the route can be opened. With Ballinger’s report of high winds clearing some snow, the odds are more in their favor. Ballinger and Perez will follow Nirmal Purja as they are climbing without supplemental oxygen. Look for Nirmal Purja and his team to summit early Wednesday July 24th. There are no GPS trackers available to the public that I know of that we could follow.
K2 2019 has come down to risk management vs ambition. The commercial teams with paying clients felt the fragile snow conditions were just too unstable to risk sending their Sherpas, HAPs, guides and clients to the summit. After all, most long time (mostly western) guides feel their job is to get their clients back home safely and not put them under unnecessary risks. I say, “mostly western” based on the number of deaths we saw this spring, 21, on Everest and other 8000ers with the majority, 15, coming for Nepali based operators who as one prominent guide told me “It’s not our job to turn a client around.”
At the other end of this spectrum are the well qualified independents who answer only to themselves, teammates and families. They have a broader risk profile and will push the envelope when others turn back. We are seeing this play out in 2019. Ambition, and in some case ego, are driving decision making that some may feel is unwise. Time will tell if they push too hard and pay the ultimate price or show their metal and find a way to the summit and return home safely.
Of note, there were three climber triggered avalanches between July 16 and 17 with several injuries including a Sherpa with a broken arm. So the conditions are far from ideal, even for the Super Climbers.
One Last Push
Probably the biggest storyline for this year, and in many years, is Nirmal Purja‘s effort to summit all 14 of the 8000-meter peaks in 7 months breaking the record of 7 years. This far he and his team of four Sherpas have summited 9: Annapurna, Dhaulagiri, Kangchenjunga, Makalu, Everest, Lhotse, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum II. Now he is on K2 hoping to achieve what others could not – open a route to the summit in a year of deadly snow conditions. Assuming he gets K2, he still need to summit Broad Peak before leaving Pakistan for the final climbs in Tibet and Nepal. Even if he stopped now, his achievements has been amazing and shows what is possible by a gifted few.
After posting the SST team was ending their effort because “K2 was not ready in 2019”, they seem to have been drawn into Nirmal Purja’ effort and Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summits Treks, whose Sherpas were fixing the rope from C4 to the summit but stopped due to deep snow, made this announcement. It appears most of their clients are joining in the push contrary to what they said only 18 hours prior to this post saying it was too dangerous:
Tonight we Seven Summit Treks collaborating with Elite Himalayan Adventures will move from Base Camp for another summit push of K2, Nirmal Purja and his team and SST fixing team scheduled summit date is 24th July and the team of Seven Summit Treks Members and Sherpas scheduled summit plan on 25th July.
•Fixing Team summit plan 24/07/2019