With high winds on K2, everyone is back in Base Camp waiting for the next window. The long term forecast doesn’t look good for low winds. Thus far the highpoint for anyone is 7050-meters/23,130-feet just below traditional Camp 3.
In communicating with climbers on K2, they fall into different profiles. I’ll focus on the climbers that are seeking the purity of the goal, and who are humble in their public profiles.
For those who care about the use of oxygen, it’s reported that these climbers will attempt with no Os: Sergi Mingote, Juan Pablo Mohr, Mattia Conte, Tamara Lunger, Alex Gavan, Magdalena Gorzkowska. Nirmal Purja Purja Purja was said to not use Os but that has not been confirmed.
There are four main teams on K2 this winter:
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: 3 people, all Sherpas
- Nirmal Purja Purja Purja Purja : Nirmal Purja Purja Purja plus six Nepalis/Sherpas in support, One client looking to experience BC and perhaps C1
- John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and son: a three-person independent team
- Seven Summits Trek’s (SST) 50+ person commercial team with over 20 clients with various experience on 8000-meter winter climbs.
The teams held a “puja” at base camp on Tuesday. This is a ceremony lead by a Sherpa who is also a Lama. They read from 300-year-old Tibetan prayer books and ask the mountain Gods for permission to climb, forgiveness for damaging the mountain, and safety for the climbers. This is how Nirmal Purja Purja Purja described today’s ceremony:
Puja ceremony at the K2 Basecamp this morning – I always find it very peaceful. It was very cold and windy ! However, it was great to see all members from different teams praying to the mountain god together for a safe passage.
Me and all my team members have been resting at basecamp since we returned back here on 31st of Dec. Everyone is in a good state of health. My fingers are slowly recovering too.
The weather forecast for the next few days isn’t looking great. Strong hurricane force winds and snow is expected.
Mingma G – At BC
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is back at BC resting and recovering from a small leg injury due to the poor fit of his boots. He and his small Sherpa-only team have reached 7000-meters, roughly at the top of the Black Pyramid.
Nim’s – At BC
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja Purja and Co’s is also at BC waiting for the next good weather window. Nirmal Purja Purja Purja teams consist of Mingma David, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, and Sandro Gromen-Hayes. His high has been 7000-meters. He posted:
In the next weather window opportunity, myself + my team, Mingma G + team and couple of Sherpas from SST (tbc) will be aiming to fix lines upto Camp 4, as per the current plan.
Snorri – At BC and Optimistic
Yes my goal is to be with the first but be smart about it. Meaning we go step by step not to loose our energy. I believe if teams work together we have better chance to reach our goal. This project is big and not easy thing I believe all K2 climber understand that now After we have seen and felt the cools and the wind. So we are like one team here All members are now in bc do to weather next days.
He added, “I’m very happy to get 2 change to climb K2 in winter” Which is what I think all the climbers from clients to Sherpas to cooks feel about this opportunity.
If there is a quote of the season, this might be it. John is quite optimistic telling me:
Often the jet stream slow down mid jan and pick up again I will use the opportunity but the work is hard. I will stick to my plan. I have supplies till March. I will not underestimate K2 I respect and will work with nature
Seven Summits Treks: All Back at BC
Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team has regrouped at K2 Base Camp. They suggest a summit bid after January 14, 2021.
Noel Hanna is one of the most qualified members of the SST team. This humble climber from Northern Ireland has accomplished quite a bit in his climbing career: 10 Everest summits plus Manaslu, to 8353m on Kangchenjunga (8586m). Also, not highly publicized, he made the first ascent of Burke Kange at 6942m. This peak was named after Bill Burke, the oldest American to summit Everest from both sides. Bill was on the expedition.
He reached C3 on K2 in 2015 and summited in 2018. He also summited Everest with his wife Lynne in 2016. Another item, after summiting Everest from the Tibet side in 2006, he then cycled from basecamp to the sea at the Bay of Bengal. (1800 kms, 16 days, 23hrs 45mins from the summit to sea).
Noel gave us this private update from K2 Base Camp:
I got a hot shower yesterday when I came down from C1 Plenty of hot water and food. Conditions are very good. Everyone has their own personal tent and the dining tents are very warm which are double skinned and both have a kerosene stove.
Atanas Skatov posted this update:
Today we went down with my partner back to base camp. The purpose of the rotation was one night at the first and second Japanese camp. Unfortunately, the weather was very bad and we spent two days in camp 1, 5850 m. A very strong wind blowing over 70 km / hr. In combination with a temperature of minus-30 degrees, I understood why 20 years no one managed to climb more than 7400 m. But the expedition is at its very beginning and I strongly believe in success! Indeed, there is absolutely nothing to do with summer and this winter expedition. Thank you very much to everyone for the support!
Broad Peak – En Route
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.
Memories are Everything