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Jan 112021
K2 from Concordia 2014 by Alan Arnette

The winter K2 teams are regrouping after high winds destroyed Camp 2 just above and below House Chimney. For some, the question of when winter ends comes into play, the end of February or on the equinox on March 20, 2021.

Regardless, the weather continues to play games with all the climbers. A few days of low winds followed by patches of hurricane breezes trapping anyone wherever they might be.

Big Picture

These are the teams on K2 this winter:

Teams are coming together that might make them stronger rather than fierce competitors. With all four teams losing some gear, the time has come to share extras, join forces and see if a winter summit can be accomplished, preferably without Os, and before the end of February.

Nim’s – Delayed

Nirmal Purja Purja Purja is off his heels after his initial reaction was one of devastation at losing a lot of gear cached at lower Camp 2, just under the Chimney. Now he seems willing to wait a bit:

Waking up to all the positive messages from you all this morning. Thank you all ! Setbacks are inevitable in life specially when you are pushing your limits and it should only make you become stronger.

As you may know (or may not), I always have a back up plan for a back up plan. I am just a bit gutted about missing another summit window. However, the plan is still ON and summit plan will be pushed a bit late in the season.

Today I will be regrouping with my team. We will need to do another heavy load carry to the higher camps just like last time but maybe a bit heavier. It will have to a bigger push this time. The plan is to complete fixing lines upto Camp 4, weather permitting.

Mingma ‘David’ Sherpa of Nim’s team told Dream Wunderlust that  “We are considering the meteorological winter till 28th February.” when asked when they consider the end of winter, meteorological winter till 28th February or astronomical winter till 20th March

Mingma G – Waiting

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa seems patient to wait it out:

We are waiting in Base camp for good weather to come. Weather forecast keeps on changing so we will stay here in base camp for more days.

He is not 100% certain of his gear at traditional Camp 2, above House Chimney but said they stashed it all behind a rock wall (which is where we had our tent in 2014) and felt it was as sheltered as best it could be. He will know definitely when he or some else goes there.

Snorri – Hopeful

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali remains optimistic but cautious:

In camp 2, we took all our things out of the tents and deposit it at a rock there, except the tent. We roped it down but it’s likely in bad condition. I believe otherwise we have bigger problems as well some of oxygen has flew down to ABC. I don’t know better at this moment. Planing to use coming window to go from BC to C2. Then finish fix to C3 and sleep. We see what happens from there. It all depends on the wind for us.
John’s point of the oxygen bottles is critical. While the massive SST team probably have spares, sharing oxygen seems improbable and could be the final straw.

Seven Summits Treks – Business as Usual, But Wary

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team of 22 clients and 27 Sherpas in support is the wild card and as expected the team will move forward. Dawa posted:

Team formed for C4 set up on 15th. Due to the continues high wind from last days, some tents(5), oxygen bottles, fixed lines and left equipment in high camp has been damaged and swept away. Tomorrow Sherpas will make another load ferry to C1 and C2 to rearrange the camp and fixed lines, 2 Sherpas: Pasang Nurbu and Sona (along with the team of Nirmal Purja Purja Purja) will push higher following the schedule of 12th Jan – C2, 13th Jan – C3, 14th Jan- Rest and preparation in C3 and 15th Jan – C4 set up, if weather and the mountain permits. I will join my team till C2,helping them to rebuild up the route and camps. Some members from our team will make another acclimatization rotation, and look forward for next summit weather window.
As I noted in yesterday’s post, Seven Summits Treks co-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.
Professional climber, Alex Gavin wrote as part of a long introspective post on Facebook that:
For over a week we haven’t been able to see the peak of K2 due to unstable weather. But this is something normal in the high mountains and even more in winter and in this place, especially. In order not to be flown by the wind, we collected our tent in Camp 1 before descent and anchored it well to the rocks. We have also properly anchored our base camp tents as well as the ten blue plastic barrels containing mine and Tamara’s equipment, as well as all that we need to cope with our stay here well through winter or as long as it will be. Although I have been and always will be a minimalist, all of which weigh no less than 320 lbs. And I think I didn’t take anything extra, nothing worthless. Yesterday at base camp the wind was up to 80 kilometers per hour
And another positive statement of intent from Atanas Skatov‘s home team:
Early this morning, Nasko started on a second rotation, to implement better acclimatization. During the first, we refrained to mention that there was diarrhea accompanied by fever and vomiting. After consultation with a doctor, he had to take an antibiotic for 5 days. Luckily he is already feeling better and in view of having a good weather forecast for the coming days, Nasko headed to the height camps. Yesterday we found out that due to the strong wind of the previous days, part of the camp 1 tents and the previous Japanese camp were out and others broke. We hope that both Nasko’s luggage and this deposited by other participants is unharmed and is on site. A difficult expedition in which you need not only knowledge and practical experience, but also a great dose of luck and good weather! Skatov Team

Standing By

We will know more over the next few days, the total extent of the damage There are almost seven weeks to the end of January and almost another month to March 21, so there is lots of time if the willpower remains strong. Spending another month, or longer in these conditions will take a toll.

Comments on/from Facebook

  6 Responses to “Winter K2 Update: Determination”


    It’s Alex Gavan not Gavin


    I hoped Nirmal Purja Purja Purja had more equipment or that he wouldn’t risk so much of it.


    Nim’s seems to have pulled gear out of his ass. Not unexpected considering the money behind him.
    My money is on SST making a promising push if the mountain allows but mostly Alex Gavin when it comes to summit day… if that happens.