K2’s winter Camp 2 was taken out by high winds. All the tents pitched there, many with critical gear for higher up the mountain were erased or destroyed. To be clear, these winds have swept humans off the high slopes of K2, so to scourer the mid camps is understandable. The question remains, what now.
These are the teams on K2 this winter:
- Mingma Gyalje Sherpa: 3 people, all Sherpas
- John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and son: a three-person independent team
- Seven Summits Trek’s (SST) 49 person commercial team with 22 clients and 27 Sherpas in support.
- Nirmal Purja Purja Purja Purja : Nirmal Purja Purja Purja plus six Nepalis/Sherpas in support, one client looking to experience lower K2
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja has confirmed his team’s gear is gone. Mingma seems the same. While not reported, Snorri must suffer the same fate. The giant commercial team of Seven Summits Treks, their experienced leader Sergi Mingote said
The C1 and C2 tents , including my tent, seem to have flown in the strong winds, along with some more material that JP and I left in C1. In the C2 we anchored one of my backpacks, filled with sleeping bags, the stove, some gas and food, and some other material. We believe that this deposit will not have “blown up”, because if it is, things look bad. Very bad. So now, at 5:00 p.m., when night has already taken over Base Camp, all are doubts. Tonight we will make the final decision. This is winter K2 .
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja is evaluating the next step, He originally wanted to climb without supplemental oxygen and paraglide off the summit, no doubt to the delight of his Red Bull sponsor. He has to be rethinking the overall project and even if he can summit like he did last year in summer. With his strong team of six Nepalese breaking trail, he certainly has a chance but he needs the technical climbing gear to make it happen.
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa might be over. He came to K2 on a shoestring budget but is probably the most experienced and strongest of any climber there. He has a tiny team of two Sherpas, strong, but to summit K2 in the winter, it might take more than three.
John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali is determined but like Mingma, a team of three has a small chance. They set the lines to C1 and have gone to C3, and I assume all their gear is gone, so in all likelihood, their effort is over.
Seven Summits Treks
Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team of 22 clients and 27 Sherpas in support is the wild card. I saw SST in 2014 take 30 people to the summit on July 26, so they know how to do it. But this is winter. I assume they didn’t lose a substantial amount of gear at C2, even though Sergi Mingote said he did. There are many other, less capable clients, who never made it that high, much less cached gear there so they remain questionable.
The key will be if the strong SST Sherpas can establish C4, then set the line through the Bottleneck and Traverse, the members might be able to follow.
And the Rest
The few extraordinary climbers Sergi Mingote, Juan Pablo Mohr, Mattia Conte, Tamara Lunger, Alex Gavan might be able to band together independent of the other to make an attempt. We still have three weeks to the end of January and over a month to March 21, so lots of time if the will remains.
Memories are Everything