Winter K2 Update: No January 2021 Summits??

Furtenbach Adventures Broad Peak Base Camp 2018

The winds continue to hit K2 and now some are feeling a bit less optimistic than even a few days ago.

Big Picture

It was expected, a long period of high winds combined with harsh temperatures conspire to hurt morale. Boredom is setting in with little to do while waiting for the next window.

John Snorri Sigurjonsson told me just a few days ago that “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” But today told me directly:

I think no one will summit K2 in January

There are four main teams on K2 this winter. Everyone is at Base camp waiting out the weather.

Mingma G – At BC

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is resting at BC. He and his small Sherpa-only team have reached 7000-meters, roughly at the top of the Black Pyramid. He gave this brief update today:

Since 31st Dec 2020, we have been staying in base camp waiting for another good window to go and deposit our equipment to camp3 and try to fix camp4.

I asked him about his foot and he said it was healing and sent me this picture:

Seven Summits Treks: All at BC

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team has regrouped at K2 Base Camp. They suggest a summit bid after January 14, 2021. The leader of the SSST team, Dawa Sherpa posted this update:

Atanas Skatov gave us this insight from Base Camp:
The weather is very bad at Base Camp. High wind and low temperatures blowing. I don’t know if at the top I’ll have the opportunity to remove and wave the flags, but today at 40 km / hr it was very difficult and only at 5250 m high in the glacier. Thank you warmly to everyone who contributed to make this expedition a reality and Bulgaria has a first winter participation at a peak of more than eight thousand meters and K2. Together forward and upwards to the top, dear friends and I ask for your stormy applause, because without the sponsors there would be no participation in this expedition! For Bulgaria
Also, I liked what Alessandro Fillipini said on  Carlos Garranzo Ibañez blog (click the link for the full post):
Today the situation at K2 is very simple: everyone at base camp. Except Waldemar Kowalewski, of course. As is well known, the Pole was evacuated by helicopter.

WEATHER Bad weather, with impetuous winds that add up to very low temperatures, block operations. How long? This is the question everyone asks. It seems that an improvement is coming from Friday and that Sunday is the best day for a window that could close on Monday. These are all forecasts to be confirmed. The only sure thing is that there will be no major snowfall even in the next 10 days.

PROGRAMS As is known, the route is partially aided up to a low c3, under the Black Pyramid. For the traditional c3 there are about 200 meters left. In order to think about summit attempts it is essential to equip this field and then the route up to the Spalla, including a possible c4 immediately below. Nirmal Purja Purja Purja said that at the next window he with his team (5 Sherpas), Mingma G. with his two Sherpas and a couple of SST’s will go up to rig up to c4.

And finally from the SST team, Noel Hanna, by way of his wife Lynne:

A brief update from Base Camp all well with Noel he was feeling a bit bored yesterday so did some sewing of his gear !!! It’s been a quiet week high winds coming in tomorrow you can see the change in the weather today as the storm approaches we will await further updates from Noel tomorrow…..

Broad Peak – En Route

Zoltán Szlankó and Alex Goldfarb are trekking the Baltoro Glacier and should be at Base Camp within the next few days.

Manaslu – En Route, Heavy Snow

Over 3 feet of new snow is being reported around Manaslu Base Camp. This is what has stopped many previous winter attempts. We’ll see what happens this year.

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez have left 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. Currently, they are back in Samagaun resting after doing acclimatization hikes in the area.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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11 thoughts on “Winter K2 Update: No January 2021 Summits??

  1. Hey Alan-

    Just wondering-

    How are The Americans Jon Kedrowski and Colin O’Brady doing? How come you don’t ever talk about your fellow countrymen? They are great guys!

  2. Hi Alan
    Great coverage as ever. I wondered what the cut-off date for it to be considered a ‘winter’ attempt is?

    1. Thanks, Peter, I wrote a long post about this but the bottom line is that absent of a ruling body, the definition is left to the climbers. Most countries who issue climbing permits use meteorological, Dec, Jan, and Feb but a lot of climbers like to use astronomical which aligns with the solstices – December 21 and March 20 in the northern hemisphere.

      For me? I don’t think of March as winter but also think winter begins with the winter solstice. December, so I guess I’m in the middle.

      1. I heared from Hassan & Nisar Sadpara (two renowned mountaineers) and recently from Abbass Sadpara (Broad Peak & G I summiteer) that traditionally Karakoram winter season counts from 21 December to 15th February.

  3. Hi Alan,
    Been a follower of your blog for 2 or 3 years. I just wanted to thank you for your coverage of these ascents, making it possible to follow such fascinating adventures. We learn a lot thanks to your comments, the links, on a world that is definitely extreme and unknown for a lot of people.
    Climb On! 😉

  4. Alan, thanks for your excellent coverage of the K2 winter climbing season, from a climber in Alaska! Just an idea but since the climbers are all weathered in at BC, is there any way for us to do Q & A with them? Also if you remember the Whillans Box used on Annapurna South Face, it seems like it might be a good idea on K2 Winter Season.

      1. Found it. Thank you. Surprised Noel is not having a go without bottled oxygen. But a winter ascent is a mega enough target in of itself, so no complaints.

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