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Jan 102021
 
K2 Camp 2: 22,110'/6700m

It’s been confirmed that high winds have destroyed Camp 2 along with the tents and gear. Time to reassess for some expeditions. No injuries as the Camp was empty.


Big Picture

Nims has confirmed his team’s gear is gone from Camp 2, blown away by high winds. Most likely so are Mingma G’s gear. Since they and John Snorri were the only teams to have made it that high (plus some SST route fixing Sherpas) it remains to be seen if they will have to abandon their effort or be able to borrow or use some of SST or their members kit.

SST may have dodged a huge bullet by arriving after everyone else and not establishing a huge presence at C2, but we don’t know for sure. With over 45 climbing members, they have a lot of resources so may be able to weather this storm.

This is a video I took of C2 in 2014. You can see how the winds destroy tents. Note I say Camp 3 but it’s C2. Also, it’s a large file, 100MB, so may take a moment to load.

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K2 Camp 2 video in 2014 by Alan Arnette

The winds were predicted to calm today, Sunday, January 9, 2021, and remain under 20 mph for most of the week. Mind you, this does not diminish the windchill all that much. At these speeds and a still air temp of -40F, the wind chill is still -80F or -62C.


Nim’s – At C2 – Wrecked

Nims Purja and Co’s are back at BC and went to C1 and C2 on Sunday, January 10, 2021. His high has been 7300-meters. He posted:

Our team reached to Camp 2 today and it was a wreckage site. We found that both our tents and all equipments that we had left here for the summit plan are all destroyed and swept away by the wind. We have lost everything including all our kits; sleeping bags, mattresses, heated shoe insoles, summit gloves/mittens, summit base layers, paragliding equipment, cooking equipment etc. I am devastated to be breaking this news. Now, I have to reassess and replan everything.
All team members are back at the base camp now. More updates to follow ! Stay tuned.

Apparently, this confirms that Nims intended to paraglide off the summit. Nims teams consist of Mingma David, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, and Sandro Gromen-Hayes.

Mingma G – At BC

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is at BC fearful of the C2 status. Mingma tells me this warning:

Finally after 8 days we have sunshine here in K2 Base Camp. We remained inside the tent for 7 days because of high wind and clouds and of course low temperature. We are not sure about our camp at 7000m. We have most of our gears in our Camp2 which is just below Black Pyramid. If the tent was blown away then we are done to go back home. Hope our tent is there and everything is inside the tent. Today @nimsdai and team went to camp2 to check their gears and deposit some equipment to camp2. Our Camp2 is bit higher than lower and upper Camp2 so it is not possible to go up and down in a day. Weather is changing, we hope we get good weather to go and fix higher camp

It’s very common to leave gear in high camps tents so as to reduce the work on the next trip up. Often it includes a sleeping bag, extra layers, and perhaps route fixing gear such as ice screws, pitons, ropes, slings, and more. There might be a scenario where Minga and the team can borrow spares from other climbs, but this rarely happens in practice.

Recall that Mingma launched a fundraiser to support his teammates but they only raised a few thousand dollars this, most likely, didn’t bring spare gear. I hope his tent and gear are safe since this would be the second year in a row that Mingma had to abandon a winter K2 effort.

Snorri – At BC

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali are at base camp. No update on their gear at C2

Seven Summits Treks: All at BC

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team at K2 Base Camp. Expect a rush by over 20 climbers in the next several days to overnight at Camp 2, at a minimum for their final acclimatization rotation. Expect some issues with tent space, especially at C1. They will need to coordinate with the other teams otherwise there will be 50 to 60 people trying to squeeze into spots that can accommodate only 10 to 15. But the leaders know this and should be able to manage with good communications.

Bernhard Lippert remains hopeful: “Weather is getting better, some winds in 2 days we’ll go back up”

Broad Peak – At Base Camp

Zoltán Szlankó and Alex Goldfarb are now at base camp according to their Pakistani logistics company, Jasmine Tours Pakistan. They did an acclimatization rotation to 6209 meters per Laszlo Pinter.

Zoltán Slankó and Alex Goldfarb, their acclimatization mountain, started to explore the route Pastore Peak. Zoli just wrote ′′ It’s not easy. Nice cold weather.”
Zoli were still on the glacier when he wanted to visit them John Snorri, trying to climb K2, but this way they avoided each other. Zoli was very sorry because she wanted to meet him. They probably will have the opportunity.
The 6209-meter high summit is being apostrophied by some foreign sources (mostly the tour organizers in this one) as ′′ light trekking peak “- Well, before anyone misunderstood, the name ′′ trekking peak ′′ doesn’t mean you could climb in bare hike boots. The name comes from the fact that these peaks under 6500 meters are typically popular trekking routes, often climbing without permission, and entrepreneurial high mountain hikers can try relatively safe. Their technical difficulties are changing, but typically they are not easier than Mont Blanc, they are only 1500 meters taller. Maybe it’s not a coincidence that Pastore Peak doesn’t have a winter climb yet. Zoli Slankó said ′′ swimming through the Danube is not a big adventure, but if someone does it in winter, TV goes out there.” Last year when Lobuche East was climbed in Nepal, there was a 500 meter waterproof section that’s everything but it’s not easy. With that climb, Zoli became the first Hungarian to climb over 6000 m in winter
Alex and Zoltan today went to check out the route to Pastore Peak (6209 m), their planned acclimatization peak. “It isn’t easy” – Zoltan wrote us. “Weather was cold but beautiful” – he added. John Snorri wanted to pay a visit to the pair today but they were still out on the glacier so they didn’t meet. Maybe at a later time!
(Official expedition communication by Laszlo Pinter, Mozgásvilág. Free for editorial purposes, with proper link and credit to this post.)

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 arrived at Samagon, the last village before Manaslu Base Camp. They will share base camp cooks but climb independently. Moro made this comment:

Arrived yesterday in Samagaon after 9 hours of walking. Along the way I also met the two Sherpas of the other expedition, Tenji and Vinayak, among the few certified UIAGM Alpine Guides. I had promised them two The North Face jackets

Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla, both Nepali internationally certified mountain guides (IFMGA) are also on Manaslu.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

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  12 Responses to “Winter K2 Update: Camp 2 Destroyed. Expeditions in Jeopardy”

  1.  

    Hi Alan
    Thank you so much for these posts. It is a real treat for me with no life to have something real to follow. I was wondering about the viability of snow caves in the Karakoram. I have heard of them used with success in Patagonia. I do know that a big problem is finding them again.
    Eric, Bishop, California

    •  

      I’ve never heard of snow “caves” on any of the Pakistani 8000ers, but I assume some are around. Igloos might be better at base camp, but it takes quite a bit of snow.

  2.  

    Thanks Alan for your daily detailed updates. I feel very sorry for Nims but it seems that if he had done more research, it hadn’t happened to him? On a “normal” expedition this would mean the end and going home… too bad. Hopefully Nims manage to find stuff and equipment so he can continue.

    •  

      Yes Frans. These destroyed camps happen in winter and occasionally in winter. There are techniques to minimize destruction like using mesh nets to lash down the tents but high winds are high winds.

  3.  

    Hi Alan, certainly bad news. Is there an option to bring in more equipment from Islamabad or even ship it there from Europe/US? Yes, they’ll need to get it to Basecamp but since there was already a strong likelihood the teams were going to be there for another month plus, could this be an option?

    •  

      Good idea! But it would take 4-5 days for the heroic porters to get them to BC. But as you note some consider the end of winter in late March. All depends on the climbers resolve, and money.

  4.  

    Hi Alan, I agree to disagree 🙂
    It is true that ”It’s very common to leave gear in high camps tents so as to reduce the work on the next rip up.” but leaving open and set up tents is common practice during summer when the winds are not that strong. When you read reports from previous winter expeditions one of biggest problems are high winds and very often teams just dismantle/pack tents and secure all gear at the camps to keep it in place.
    From last year winter BP Don Bowie: ”UPDATE: Broad Peak / K2 Winter Expedition. We are all still in base camp waiting out a spell of bad weather. In the interim, here is an image of our Camp 1. Currenty our tents are in Camp 2 – we don’t leave them pitched because there is a good chance the high winds would damage them, or worse. It’s not like summer when you leave your sleeping bags and food and gear in the high camps and then return to it later. Except for the tents, we carry everything down the mountain each time we leave, then carry it all back up the next time we climb. Welcome to winter 8000 meter style.”
    This is why winter climbing is so hard as well, not only harsh weather but you need to do much more work than during summer too.

    •  

      Good point Paul, and I don’t disagree so perhaps we agree! 🙂 The winds are so strong at C2, even if they collapsed the tents, they still could be blown away. 120 k/h or 75 mph are strong breezes and can lift anything off the surface.

      •  

        True, probably collapsing tents is not enough, they have to be closed, packed and secured/attached to belay points. Sergi Mingote did it with his camp/deposit in Camp 2.

        •  

          Agree. We’ll see. I’ve seen this before at C2 on Everest after the earthquake and first hand in K2. I hope you are right and Sergi can get it done.

  5.  

    Is this something that is a common occurrence / risk? Curious if teams prepare for this or not.

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