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Mountaineers all set to make history by climbing K2 for the first time in winters

January 8, 2020by hoMusk34

K2 – The Mysterious Mountain

K2 is the second-highest mountain peak in the world after Mount Everest with an elevation of 8611 meters (28,251 feet).

K2 is considered as 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%

First Ascent

The first successful attempt to climb K2 was made by Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli from this expedition were 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.

Previous Attempts to Ascent K2 in Winters

There are 14 mountains in the world, which are higher than 8,000m, and all of the 8-thousanders have been climbed in winters except K2.

There have been various attempts to climb K2 in winters before, but none of them has ever been succeeded, and it’s still the dream of mountaineers to climb it in winters!

1987/1988 – Polish-Canadian-British expedition led by Andrzej Zawada from the Pakistani side, consisting of 13 Poles, 7 Canadians, and 4 Brits. They were successful in establishing a camp III at 7300m but hurricane winds and frostbite forced the team to retreat.

2002/2003 – The team of fourteen climbers was led by Krzysztof Wielicki (He was one of the members who tried to ascend k2 in 1987/1988 and he is the First person to climb Mount EverestKangchenjunga, and Lhotse in the winters), They intended to climb North Ridge. Was successful to establish camp IV at 7,650m. The final ascent failed due to the destruction of the tent by harsh weather in camp IV.

2011/2012 – Nine Russian climbers attempted K2’s Abruzzi Spur route. They managed to reach 7,200 metres above sea level but had to retreat due to hurricane-force winds as well as frostbite.

2017/2018 – Polish National Winter Expedition led by Krzysztof Wielicki, consisting of 13 climbers, started in the end of December 2017. Krzysztof tried 3rd time to ascend K2 in winters and chose a different route, Cesen route instead of Abruzzi Spur but had to switch to Abruzzi Spur at 6,300m due to severe weather and at 7,400m, they had to retreat the ascend due to severe weather conditions and hence failed this time too.

Winter Expedition of 2019/2020

A strong team of local and foreign climbers is attempting to make history by climbing K2 in Winters this season. The team led by the Icelandic expedition John Snorri including members from Slovenia, Poland, China, and Nepal. The team includes legendary Mingma Sherpa from Nepal and Sirbaz Khan from Pakistan as well.

K2 Winter expedition team
Group photo of mountaineers by Saad Munawar

We wish the best of luck to the team and hope they set a record this time.

Learn more about K2 by clicking this link!
K2 – Different names, Etymology, Facts, and Geography