Winter K2 Update: A Crowded Mountain

K2 from Concordia 2014 by Alan Arnette

K2 is filled with people today, most on their second and final acclimatization rotation before a summit attempt perhaps later this month, weather dependent.

The good news is that it warmed up significantly. The bad news is the warmer conditions are causing rockfall. Several climbers reported rockfall yesterday with minor to insignificant injuries. But the warning is clear. I’m hearing directly from the climbers on conditions.

Big Picture

The Seven Summit Trek team is sending wave after wave higher, taking advantage of this window. It’s risky (but what isn’t on the Hill?) with several days of calm winds, interspersed with a violent one. Some may be forced to stay longer than planned at a camp to ride out a spat of hurricane winds.

As mentioned yesterday, Spanish alpinist Luis Carlos Garranzo was helicoptered from K2 Base Camp suffering from kidney issues. He is the third evacuee this season along with Polish Waldemar Kowalewski, suffering from a pre-existing hernia. An unidentified Sherpa was also choppered out. There have been health issues with other climbers including Bulgarian Atanas Skatov from Bulgaria who had GI problems but recovered after a 5-day antibiotic course.

After a difficult weekend of mixed news regarding lost camps and gear, this week is shaping up nicely. Not sure about all the messaging but it’s clear that everyone is staying motivated and working hard.

These are the teams on K2 this winter:

Nim’s – C2/3

Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and Team
Nirmal Purja Purja Purja and Team

Nirmal Purja Purja Purja’s should be at C2 heading to C3 and hoping to fix ropes to C4 along with the SST rope team.

Nirmal Purja Purja Purja teams consist of Mingma David, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pemchhiri Sherpa, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, and Sandro Gromen-Hayes.



Mingma G – Waiting

Mingma G Sherpa
Mingma G Sherpa

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa seems patient to wait it out but also eager to find out the status of his gear at C2. Mingma tells me directly on Tuesday, January 12 2021 around noon K2 time:

Hi Alan, I can see my tent at Black Pyramid so I hope everything is there inside the tent just below the Black Pyramid.


Snorri – C2

John Sorrni
Muhammad Ali Sadpara, John Snorri Sigurjonsson,and Sajid Ali Sadpara

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Ali are at Camp 2. John sent me this message directly:

We Just reached C2 Slot of rockfall. [ed: House Chimney] Few times need to jump away from big rocks. Yes if I have correct one American got hit on his hand. [ed: Kedrowki – he’s fine.] Nina plans to sleep in C3 if correct info. Tomorrow SW 80 [ed:winds] in C3 It’s going to be something. We expect 60 [ed:winds] in c2 All our things are OK here except the tent it’s gone. We have another. On Bulgarian Antanas just arrive c2 we are under chimney

So the team is climbing in mixed conditions experiencing high winds and random rockfall. Sounds like K2! You can follow on their tracker.

Seven Summits Treks – Highly Motivated

Chhang Dawa Sherpa Chhang Dawa Sherpa

Seven Summits Trek’s commercial team of 22 clients and 21 Sherpas in support is the wild card. Chhang Dawa Sherpa, director of Seven Summit Treks tells me directly about the team’s motivation:

All are motivated at least we can see some good windows in a week, lets see how it works with real weather condition

They are currently on this schedule: 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.

It’s reported the following are at C2: Sergi Mingote and Atanas Skatov. I assume Tamara Lunger and Alex Gavan are also there. Juan Pablo Mohr at C1. The plan was to overnight at C3, assuming it gets established and the winds allow.


Noel Hanna at K2 Jan 2021. Courtesy of Lynne Hanna Noel Hanna at K2 Jan 2021. Courtesy of Lynne Hanna

Lynne Hanna reported on her husband, Noel:

Update from K2 Noel has returned to base camp today he has sent me some great photos of the Camp 1. In the shadows taken looking down from half way between Camp 1 and 2 you also see Pemba who is climbing with Noel he was with us on Manaslu in 2019. … great pics of the glacier … they will remain at base camp until the winds die down again … — with Noel Hanna.

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.

Manaslu – At Base Camp

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez arrived at Manaslu Base Camp:

We are already at BC! We’re ok, acclimating to the altitude and gradually building what will be “our home” for the next few weeks. Very good feelings.

Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla, both Nepali internationally certified mountain guides (IFMGA) are at Manaslu Base Camp ready to move higher.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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4 thoughts on “Winter K2 Update: A Crowded Mountain

  1. Mingma g’s patience was running to C3, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja fixing lines up to 7600m today! I think Alan you were right this week, possible summit attack saturday morning, when the wind drops to almost zero.

  2. Hi Alan,
    Thanks for all the winter K2 coverage.
    The trackers of Atanas Skatov and John Snorri Sigurjonsson with team show them in low C2, a little below 6600m. Snorri posted on his facebook page that Mingma G is there as well but it is not clear if the whole team is up.
    Sergi Mingote, Juan Pablo Mohr and Tamara Lunger are sharing a tent in C1, while her rope partner Alex Gavan is somewhere below. Alex will probably settle in the Japanese field together with Mattia Conte and Antonios Sykaris as there were no sign of them at C1 when the sun set down (info from Sergi Mingote who spoke with them on the radio).
    Looks like windy tomorrow will be a ‘rest’ day for everyone up on the mountain.

    1. John Snorri wrote about Mingma in Camp 2. But there is two Mingmas, one is Mingma G and another is Mingma David(part of the Nirmal Purja Purja Purja team) and he is for sure in C2. So not for sure if Mingma G is there as well or just all confuse with names 🙂

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