K2 – Different names, Etymology, Facts and Geography

k2 mountain

All you need to know about the second-highest mountain in the world, and the deadliest, The Mighty K2.

Names and Etymology

The name K2 was given to this majestic peak by the British surveyor Thomas Montgomerie during the Great Trigonometric Survey of then British India. K denotes the Karakoram range where it’s located and number 2 denotes the 2nd most prominent peak in this range, the first one being K1 is also known as Masherbrum.

K2 is also known as Chhogori by the locals. This name is derived from two Balti words, chhogo (“big”) and ri (“mountain”) (چھوغوری) has been suggested as a local name.

The name mount Godwin-Austen was also suggested, named in the honor of great geologist and surveyor Sir Henry Godwin-Austen, who explored this particular area.

Interesting Facts

  • K2 is the second-highest mountain peak in the world after Mount Everest. It has a peak elevation of 8611 meters (28151 feet).
  • K2 is considered one of the most difficult mountains to climb as K2 is never climbed in the winter season. Severe storms and cold weather make it almost impossible to climb this mountain during this time. The period between June and August is most favorable for ascending the K2.
  • The expeditions to K2 are extremely dangerous, and for every 4 people reaching the summit, 1 dies in the attempt (25%), which is the highest fatality rate amongst the eight-thousanders. The fatality rate associated with Mount Everest is 9%
  • The first successful attempt to climb K2 was made by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli from this expedition was the first to reach the summit, on 31st July 1954.
  • The second successful ascent of K2 came 23 years after the first one. A Japanese team led by Ichiro Yoshizawa with Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani native climber ascended the peak on August 9, 1977.


K2 is located in the Karakoram Range which spans Pakistan, China, India, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. K2 is the highest mountain peak in the Karakoram Range.

According to climbers and mountaineers, it is much more accessible from Gilgit- Baltistan region as ascending from the Chinese side is quite difficult and dangerous.

Climbing Routes

It is extremely challenging and difficult to summit K2 due to its prominence, steep and exposed nature of the routes of the peak. Also, the extreme weather conditions such as avalanches and snowstorms lasting days create hindrances while ascending.

Common ascending routes are Abruzzi Spur and North Ridge; Abruzzi spur is the most common ascending route used by climbers and it is located on the Pakistani side of the peak.

Other routes include Northeast Ridge, West Ridge, Southwest Pillar, or “Magic Line” and Northwest Face.

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