Winter K2 Update: Waiting on Weather, Also on Manaslu

K2 Plume WInter 2020:21. Courtesy of Noel Hanna

Climbers are waiting for the next weather window to open. Several forecasts converge on big winds next week, yet remain mixed on favorable conditions at the end of this week.

Big Picture

As we’ve discussed most climbers need between four to six days to safely summit and return to Base Camp. Let’s look at a range of schedules. Remember that in general winds need to be under 30mph on the summit night, preferably under 20. They can tolerate a bit higher winds, in the beginning, and end but the summit night has to be suitable or they risk severe frostbite or even being blown off the mountain.

Aggressive – 3 Days: This is almost silly, and only a world-class, speed climber could pull this off assuming they had already acclimatized to 8000-meter which no one K2 has as of today, or use a high flow of supplemental oxygen, maybe as high as 6lpm:

  1. BC-C3
  2. C3 – Summit
  3. Summit – BC

Fast – 4 Days: This is still aggressive but can be done by extremely fit and acclimatized climbers:

  1. BC-C2
  2. C2-C4
  3. C4-Summit-C3
  4. C3-BC

Normal – 6 Days: This is what most people do in the summer, but given the cold temps in winter, few will take this long. This schedule could be cut to 5 days by going to C2 directly from BC:

  1. BC-C1
  2. C1-C2
  3. C2-C3
  4. C3-C4
  5. C4-Summit-C3
  6. C3-BC

Slow – 7 Days: This is the absolutely slowest way to summit K2 and I assume no one will take this schedule this winter:

  1. BC-ABC
  2. ABC-C1
  3. C1-C2
  4. C2-C3
  5. C3-C4
  6. C4-Summit-C3
  7. C3-BC

There is a break around February 3/4 so some may try, but the suitable winds look to be measured in hours, not days.

Snorri & Team – At BC

John Snorri Sigurjonsson with Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Muhammad’s 20-year-old son Sajid Ali are in Base Camp looking at the next weather window in early February.

Seven Summits Treks – Climbing will continue if there is good weather

Seven Summits Trek’s has their team at base camp. By my count, there are 17 members (perhaps fewer) and about 20 Sherpas still left. However, with this large of a team and the wide range of experience, I’ll never be surprised to see a few climbers get ahead of the pack.

Manaslu – Ready to Go Up

Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez are at Manaslu Base Camp. Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jaya Malla are also at Manaslu Base Camp ready to move higher when winds allow. Simone gave this update:

Today I returned to the BC after two nights in Samagaon. Also today strong wind on the Manaslu. But in the next few days there seems to be a slight decrease in wind strength… and we are ready… Tomorrow we finally leave for the last rotation of acclimatization and installation of C2 and C3. Then by the end of the first week of February it looks like we have the right window for the summit push…We’ll see, one step at a time.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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2 thoughts on “Winter K2 Update: Waiting on Weather, Also on Manaslu

  1. Thank you for the updates! I like it when everyone is safe rather than battling storms on the mountain. Let’s hope the winds relax and give them a chance.

  2. Hi Alan,

    The aggressive 3 day summit and back schedule is interesting and for me makes the effort of the two Sherpa that climbed from C3 to summit and then to base case all the more impressive.

    It seems like they were motivated by frost bite, but still a gargantuan effort.

    Separately, nice to hear that M. Ali Sadpara will receive support to complete his 14×8000 goal. Having read his story, he comes across as an extremely strong, capable, and driven climber. It would be good for Pakistan to create a example out of him (for good!)

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