British climber Kenton Cool has reached the top of the world’s second-highest mountain for his third time, which might be a new record. He’s also climbed Everest 15 times and was the first climber to summit Everest, Nuptse and Lhotse in a push back in 2013.
Cool is a legend in the world of high-altitude mountaineering. In 2003, Cool and his partners were nominated for the Piolet d’Or award for a route on Annapurna III. In 2012, he made good on an 88-year-old Olympic pledge by taking one of the 1924 Olympic Gold Medals awarded to the 1922 British Everest Expedition to the summit of Everest. Yes, there have been Olympic gold medals awarded to climbers in the past, with this one being awarded for “outstanding feats of human endeavour.”
Cool is also known his big ski descents. In 2006, Cool became the first British person to complete a ski descent of an 8,000-metre peak, on Cho Oyu in Nepal, the sixth-highest mountain in the world. And in 2010, he made the third-ever ski descent of Manaslu in Nepal, the world’s eighth-highest peak.
There have been dozens of summits on K2 this week, with a number of new world records. Canadian Ian Welsted and American Graham Zimmerman have bailed on their latest attempt to climb the west ridge in alpine-style due to dangerous objective hazards like rockfall and avalanches. They’re safely back in base camp.