First, Happy Losar 2148 to my Sherpa friends. The Seven Summits Treks K2 team is back in Islamabad or already home. The 2020/21 winter K2 season has ended leaving three climbers on the mountain, and two, their bodies, transported back to Islamabad and eventually home.
We have a clue as to how the two died, but the missing three remains a mystery in spite of extensive search efforts. I don’t believe in speculation and will not engage. At the other end of the climbing spectrum, there were ten summits on January 16, 2021 by nine Sherpas and Nirmal Purja Purja Purja Purja, of Majar descent, who didn’t use supplemental oxygen.
I find it odd that the climbing community continues to question their claims citing transparency. But who certifies summit claims? Honestly it’s up to the community, the individual and the countries who issue certificates. However, there is no single body that manages the sport, much less adjudicates summit claims. I’ve asked the Himalayan Database several times over the years on how they verify claims, and the answer is consistently, “We trust the climbers.”
Do I have a problem with those who fake their summits? Absolutely, and I was thrilled to see Nepal take action, albeit late, on the two Indian climbers who photoshopped themselves into summit photos for Everest in 2016. They are now banned for six years. And was it wrong when Christian Stangl claimed a K2 summit seeking accolades for reaching the 2nd Seven Summits in 2010? Absolutely. But to assume, or even slightly suggest a climbing team is lying without any evidence when there is plenty, well, that feels like click-baiting to me. We can do better.
The K2-Ten, as I like to call them, posted a video as they reached the true summit. I recognized the view from my 2014 summit. I like this quote from Mingma David Sherpa on Instagram. Of course, he was one of the ten who summited K2 on January 16, 2021
What are the Challenges for conquering mount K2 in winter? Weather was unpredictable as wind speed was like typhoon speed which was more than 30-40 knots in a good day! It was worse in the bad weather. Temperature was below -40 to -50 degree Celsius. It was beyond for any normal people imagination. Route to summit was on the next level with vertical steep and blue ice routes. Air pressure was quite low so that means we are shorten of breathe. Every breathe was providing us strength to push our feet. But non the less we had brotherhood inspiration and motivation pushing to our extreme limits which guides us to the summit of k2 in winter.
Killing all rumours about fixed ropes, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja categorically narrating how he fixed ropes from C-2/3 (upto which Ali Satpara has fixed) onward to Summit, for the reason they have to descent at night @EverestToday @russianclimb @alan_arnette @BBCUrdu @Dailyk2_GB @Alpine_Pakistan pic.twitter.com/EEZMqxZaOa
— TheNortherner (@TheNortherner12) February 17, 2021
The whole interview is on YouTube. The ten included: Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Nirmal Purja, Pun Magar, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Kilu Pemba Sherpa, Dawa Tenjing Sherpa, and Sona Sherpa.
K2 Search Update
It’s now been almost two weeks since the three climbers, John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto, went missing. Multiple helicopter searches revealed no trace. The search efforts included helicopters, fixed winged planes and ground searches. All the hi-res photos were searched for clues revealing tents and sleeping bags but no people.
Manaslu: Back from Summit Push
Hi!! We’re still safe at BC. Today it was very cloudy😖 it was an odyssey to get internet connection. So it was time to play cards enjoying each other’s company and to read your encouraging comments. Many thanks! As soon as the weather permits, we will try to go up again!
Memories are Everything