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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Jan 042021
K2 Camp 2: 22,110'/6700m

The winds have returned and are forecasted to stay strong throughout the week. That said, there are reports of climbers going up anyway. Almost everyone is back at Base Camp now, including the rope fixers who reached 7050-meters. Also, expect another team arrives next week that may shake things up.

Big Picture

There are four main teams on K2 this winter:

So here’s the deal, climbers have to be acclimatized to high altitude before they can safely climb higher. While base camp is around 16,785-feet/5117-meters, and C1 and C2 are 19,965-feet/6050-meters and 22,110-feet/6700-meters respectively just getting to those camps are necessary but not sufficient … unless you use an extraordinary amount of supplemental oxygen for the summit push.

The climbers who have never climbed an 8000er in winter will probably use Os, and that’s not bad but they need more acclimatization rotations than others, and that is bad in that each rotation is risky for rockfall, AMS, and other problems.

And those not using O’s need to get to the high camp at 25,080-feet/7600-meters and return to BC before attempting their summit push which will take four to seven days. So here we are in early January. The weather forecast shows a random day or two of low winds, not enough to do a real rotation. So it becomes a game of risk.

The wild card, as I’ve said over and over, is the weather. Using Internet-generated forecasts show a day or two of low winds, some climbers will take the risk. The best teams pay for human-curated forecasts that interpret the data and give their advice.

The experienced climbers understand this game, the new ones to winter 8000-meter climbs may understand it intellectually but the experience is sobering. I expect a mostly quiet week with high winds keeping almost everyone at Base Camp.

Mingma G – At BC

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is back at BC after getting the fixed rope to 7000-meter, roughly at the top of the Black Pyramid. Mingma confirmed directly to me that he, Nims, and three Sherpas worked together to fix the lines in the Black Pyramid section. The SST Sherpa rope team got 50 -meters higher before high winds turned them back.

Nim’s – At BC?

Nims Purja and Co’s location is unclear. Some reports have them on K2, but others at BC waiting for the next good weather window. Nims teams consist of Mingma David, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, and Sandro Gromen-Hayes. It appears that Gelje Sherpa will climb Broad Peak before K2.

Snorri – At BC

The GPS tracker for John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali shows them back to base camp after overnighting at Camp 2.

Seven Summits Treks: Rope team Back at BC

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team has climbers at K2 Base Camp and a few at C1 and C2. They suggest a summit bid after January 14, 2021. Dawa posted this update:

After two nights on 7050m in the black pyramid waiting in strong winds our rope fixing Sherpa returned safely to BC. Unfortunately they where not able to fix higher and where forced down due to the deteriorating weather, however they where able to leave enough rope and oxygen for the next opportunity.

Other SST Members
Tamara Lunger and Alex Gavan spent last night at C1 on their first acclimatization rotation. They are not using supplemental Os. Other climbers on the SST team making huge gambles with the weather include Sergi Mingote and Juan Pablo Mohr. They pushed from C1 to C2 in high winds. Mingote reports near exhaustion when they arrived, too tired to even melt snow plus brain-numbing cold.
They didn’t climb House Chimney but rather placed their tent on one of the few relatively flat sections just below the Crack. This spot, the size of a small house with dramatic drop-offs on both sides, is used occasionally, especially for acclimatization. It’s just not worth the energy to climb the Chimney for another hundred feet and return to Base Camp. One benefit is that it is slightly less exposed than traditional C2.
Camp 3 through a telescope from K2 Base Camp

Camp 2 through a telescope from K2 Base Camp. Alan Arnette

Broad Peak – En Route

Zoltán Szlankó and Alex Goldfarb are now at Skardu, en route, and should be at Base Camp within the week.

Manaslu – En Route

Simone Moro,Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez are in quarantine in Kathmandu for their winter attempt of Manaslu. They anticipate arriving at Base Camp around January 11, 2021. Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla, both Nepali internationally certified mountain guides (IFMGA) are also on Manaslu. They are currently in Samagaun, their closest stop to Manaslu Base Camp, on January 1.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


  13 Responses to “Winter K2 Update: Weather Moves In”


    we are organizing winter group mostly in my experience is that if they are able to summit in January so they can otherwise the not will be able to do that in February start high wind and and very low clouds they not be able to see proper way.


    is Nims expected to use O’s on his final summit push?


    Exciting. I kinda feel they will make it this year, though I would prefer a less crowded and lighter version.
    Thanks for reporting on Manaslu too. Hope Simone Moro will make it.
    The most important thing is they all come back home safe.

    Alan, I watched your fantastic youtube 2014 Summit of K2, and read your “Training for Everest” page.
    Not only you provide great service, but you are also a great inspiration.
    Though I have no Himalaya goals, I’ll still use your training plan. Any time I feel weak, tired and old (I’m 52) I tell myself: Alan summited K2 at 58! That’s enough.

    Thanks buddy.


    Where does Colin O’Brady fit in with his much hyped “Impossible Climb”? Is he attached to an expedition or using other’s fixed ropes?


    Who is in the team that has not yet arrived at BC?


    Are the rope fixers use supplemental O2?


    Hi Alan, Nims Purja is in BC for sure, he made live video on IG when the heli landed at 10.45am local time so I am sure he didn’t go anywhere 🙂

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