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K2 Winter Summit Push and Rockfall Injury

A team of Sherpas will make an attempt to summit the world's second highest mountain in winter and make history

K2 is 8,611 metres high, which puts it about 200 metres less than Everest, but it’s considered a far more technical and dangerous. Of the 14 8,000-metre peaks, it’s the only yet to be climbed in winter, with or without supplementary oxygen.

K2 is known as the Savage Mountain after George Bell, a climber on the 1953 American Expedition, told reporters “It’s a savage mountain that tries to kill you.” Of the five highest mountains in the world, K2 is the deadliest; approximately one person dies on the mountain for every four who reach the summit.

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Sona Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa has set a new winter altitude record at 7,800 metres. The team is in the best position to go for a summit push this Sat. Jan. 16, when the weather looks to be as good as it will get this month. The 10 climbers who will go for the top include: Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.

Jangbu Sherpa was hit by a rock when moving between camp one and the Japanese camp. It his head and left him with a serious eye injury, luckily he’s safe in base camp waiting for an evacuation. He will be the fourth climber to be evacuated from K2’s base camp this winter.

Winter Attempts

1987/1988: Polish-Canadian-British expedition led by Andrzej Zawada from the Pakistani side. Hurricane winds and frostbite forced the team to retreat.
2002/2003: Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition. The team of 14 intended to climb North Ridge. Failed due to the destruction of the tent by harsh weather in camp IV and cerebral edema.
2011/2012: Russian expedition. Nine Russian climbers attempted K2’s Abruzzi Spur route. The expedition was called off after a death.
2017/2018: Polish National Winter Expedition consisting of 13 climbers attempted by bailed. Denis Urubko then attepted to solo and reached around 7,600m.

Canadians Up K2

Only four Canadians have reached the summit of K2: Jim Haberl and Dan Culver in 1993, Andrew Evans (no supplemental oxygen) in 2000 and Don Bowie in 2007.

Haberl’s first book was K2: Dreams and Reality, which he self-published in 1994. It is the story of Haberl and his close friend Dan Culver and their efforts to summit on Pakistan’s K2 in 1993. They became the first Canadians to reach the peak.

Culver died during the descent from K2 and Haberl died in 1999 in an avalanche while skiing in Alaska.