Strong Winds Wreck Tents at K2’s Camp Two
With dozens of climbers and a lot of equipment, teams hope to continue with their summit pushes this winter
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.
In winter 2020/21, at least 60 climbers (roughly half support and half clients) set out to attempt K2, however less than that remain. So far this winter, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa’s team has fixed ropes to 7,300 metres, which is above the Black Pyramid. Other teams have carried loads and fixed ropes lower down.
Over the past week, strong winds pinned climbers down in base camp where they stayed busy with daily yoga sessions and social time. Unfortunately, the winds destroyed tents at camp two.
Yesterday, Nirmal Purga said: “Tomorrow me and my team are set to leave for Camp 2 in order to check our tent and equipments that we had left there for our summit cycle. Some damage and disruption is expected, as we had unsettling weather conditions for the last few days. There had been hurricane force wind of upto 120km/hr. Members from other teams have also used our tent due to a limited space. It was last reported 10 days ago that our tent was not fully secured and we have been at the basecamp since then. Therefore, prior to making further progress, we need to get there, assess the situation and ensure everything is set for the prominent push later.”
Today, he confirmed the tents had been destroyed, read below.
Last year, Canadian Don Bowie was on an expedition to K2 and noted that the team would take their tents down before leaving high camps: ”UPDATE: Broad Peak / K2 Winter Expedition. We are all still in base camp waiting out a spell of bad weather. In the interim, here is an image of our Camp 1. Currenty our tents are in Camp 2 – we don’t leave them pitched because there is a good chance the high winds would damage them, or worse. It’s not like summer when you leave your sleeping bags and food and gear in the high camps and then return to it later. Except for the tents, we carry everything down the mountain each time we leave, then carry it all back up the next time we climb. Welcome to winter 8000 meter style.”
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.
Also in the Himalayas, Zoltán Szlankó and Alex Goldfarb are at Broad Peak’s base camp hoping to make a winter attempt. And on Manaslu, Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez arrived at Samagon, the last village before Manaslu base camp.
Moro recently said, “Arrived yesterday in Samagaon after 9 hours of walking. Along the way I also met the two Sherpas of the other expedition, Tenji and Vinayak, among the few certified UIAGM Alpine Guides. I had promised them two The North Face jackets.”