K2 2023 Coverage: Harila and Tenjen (Lama) Sherpa get 12th, More Summits on BP and GI

K2 Abruzzi Route Map. © www.alanarnette.com

The peak bagging continues with summits on Broad Peak, GII and even GI. Kristin Harila and Tenjen (Lama) Sherpa got their twelfth summit leaving Broad and K2 to nab all fourteen in three months. Teams have continued their acclimatization rotations on K2.

Peaks that used to be the domain of highly skilled, often sponsored professional climbers are now the domain of the “professional amateurs.” The Nepali operators, especially Seven Summits Treks, 8K Expeditions and Elite, overpower the mountain with a massive Sherpa summit, high level of supplemental oxygen and use helicopters to reduce the time to get to base camp, all contribute to success rates never seen on what was considered the most difficult 8000ers: Annapurna, K2, Nanga Parbat and now, Gasherbrum I.

To be clear, climbers still “earn” their summit, but their feat is not comparable to those five, ten and especially twenty years ago. That said, my congratulations to all.

Gasherbrum I – 26+ Summits

Seven Summits Treks proudly announced summits on GI, a peak once reserved for seasoned professionals.

We are proud and excited to announce that the Seven Summit Treks’ team has achieved a historic ascent of Gasherbrum I, reaching the summit at 6:10 AM today (18 July 2023). This is a remarkable ascent of being the first in this season to conquer the peak, ascending while fixing the summit line.
Another success add up for Kristin Harila, who has now conquered an impressive 12 out of 14 8000ers, leaving only K2 and Broad Peak remaining to complete her “Fastest 14 Peaks” challenge.
🏅 Summiteer’s Name List: 🏅
1. Kristin Harila 🇳🇴 @kristin.harila
2. Tenjen Sherpa aka Lama 🇳🇵
3. Pasang Nurbu Sherpa 🇳🇵
4. Nima Rinji Sherpa 🇳🇵 @nimasherpa_official
5. Viridiana Alvarez 🇲🇽 @virialvarezmx
6. Chhepal Sherpa 🇳🇵
7. Gabriel Tarso 🇧🇷 @gtarso_
8. Yousuf Ali 🇵🇰
9. Ming Temba Sherpa 🇳🇵
10. Lakpa Temba Sherpa 🇳🇵
11. Ang Tenji Sherpa 🇳🇵
12. Pasang Dukpa Sherpa 🇳🇵
13. Adrian Laza

Meanwhile, in a nod to the old days, Denis Urubko and Pipi Cardell reached Camp 2 as they plan a new route.

Broad Peak – 13+ summits

Ashraf Sadpara, son of late Pakistani mountaineer Ali Raza Sadpara, summited BP.

No updates on Furtenbach Adventures, who is at C2 and will make their summit push soon.

Gasherbrum II – 26+ summits

Seven Summits Treks note four more summits, two members with two Sherpas, on Sunday, July 16. Elite boasted nineteen summits but no breakout of members and Sherpas and no names provided. They posted they will move to Camp 2 on GI (GI and GII share the same route at the base of the peaks, similar to Everest and Lhotse) and try to nab a double.

K2 – Rotations

It appears that most K2 teams will do one rotation and push for the summit when a window emerges. Some climbers feel they don’t even need to acclimatize. We’ll see how that turns out. Remember that there are no helicopter rescues on K2, and the usual suspects who often jump in to rescue those in need have their own challenges with clients who have never climbed a peak like K2.

With 250 people on K2, it could be a madhouse given the limited space for tents at C1, 2 and 3.

Madison Mountaineering reported that their team is at C2 on their only acclimatization rotation. The ropes are to C3. Sherpas have stocked C2 and 3 with tents, stoves, fuel and oxygen for the summit push. The summit winds look manageable through July 27.

Nanga Parbat – Over

The season appears to be over with sixty summits.

Success Rate Calculations

I keep seeing operators claim 100% success with zero proof to back their claims. We don’t know if that was for members, Sherpas, or both. We don’t know if that is for everyone on their permit or just those who left the high camp of the summit. Overall, it’s a dubious marketing ploy that can trick unknowing potential clients into joining a team that may or may not be what they think they are.

Let’s look at a scenario where an operator has fifteen members arrive at base camp, supported by twenty Sherpas – a typical profile these days. Almost every team has attrition, so assume that five don’t even attempt the summit so ten members leave high camp for the summit push, supported by all fifteen of the Sherpas. All twenty-five make the true summit. Is that 100% success since twenty-five people left high camp and all summited (25/25=100%), or is it 71% success since ten of the fifteen clients summited with the Sherpas (25/35=71%)

Climb On!
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2 thoughts on “K2 2023 Coverage: Harila and Tenjen (Lama) Sherpa get 12th, More Summits on BP and GI

  1. Tenzing Norgay‘s, Touching My Fathers Soul , I thought, was a breakthrough in many ways. It was the second step I knew of that brought Sherpas to the forefront of Himalayan climbing..

    Nimsdai Purja climbing “14 Peaks” with a team of indigenous climbers changed the equation I cheered from the sidelines. No longer were they relegated to support but they were/are at the forefront of climbing 8,000 meter peaks. Guiding wealthy “professional amateurs” every step of the way lost the spirit of the mountain Norgay shined on in Touching My Father’s Soul. And ‘climbing the mountains by fair means’

    Thanks for your excellent reportage and commentary.

    1. Thanks for the comment John. A couple of thoughts.

      Since 2015, there has been many Sherpas who started climbing for their own reasons, and pleasure. For example the founders of Seven Summits Treks who became the first to summit all 14 (true summits) and Mingma G with Imagine Nepal who set many records. I agree with you that it’s nice to see the sport enjoyed by a wider demographic and not just as a job.

      One of the myths around Everest is the “wealthy client.” Yes, not everyone has tens of thousands to spend on a mountain climb, but in my twenty-five years of climbing, the typical profile is someone who has a good job, saves money, make good choice on cars, houses, optional expenditures (vacations, fancy stuff, etc. ) and save for years to get their chance on Everest.

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