For the first time in history, climbers climbed K2 in winter. The highest peak of 8,611 meters in Karakoram in Pakistan is the second highest mountain in the world and is considered very challenging.
“A team of ten Nepalese Sherpa climbed the K2 that afternoon,” a secretary confirmed Pakistan Alpine Clubs (ACP)Karrar Heydari, German News Agency. They started the summit storm at 1 a.m. local time (9 p.m. CET Friday) and reached the summit at 4:56 p.m. The Sherpa group stopped at one point, 70 meters from the summit, to wait for each other before they wrote their way together in world history books.
The K2 on the Pakistan-China border was the only one of the 14 eight thousand people in the world who had never climbed in the winter. It was first climbed in 1954. It is more demanding than Mount Everest, which, at about 8,849 meters, is the highest mountain in the world. Causes include the steep track and the risk of avalanches, and in winter its surface turns into smooth ice.
The previous highest altitude reached on K2 in winter was 7,750 meters by Denis Oropco and Marcin Kachkan, set nearly two decades ago. Reinhold Messner, a South Tyrol climber who calls K2 “Mountain Mountain”, stood on its summit in July 1979.
Spanish climber mortally wounded
Haidari told Reuters that their success was marred by the killing of well-known Spanish climber Sergio Mingut, who fell into a crack while trying to descend into the base camp. There are currently around 49 climbers in several teams on K2 who are trying to reach the summit, weather permitting.
And Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa wrote on Twitter, describing the 49-year-old Mingut as a “personal friend,” “upset at the news of the accident that ended the life of a great athlete.” Mingut climbed seven mountains over 8,000 meters in less than two years without supplemental oxygen.
The K2 was climbed for the first time in 1954 by Italian company Achille Compagnoni, and 450 people have reached the summit. So far, more than 80 people have had an accident while trying. In 2008 alone, eleven climbers were killed in an avalanche. The Pakistan Army is called in regularly to rescue climbers with helicopter, but the weather often makes it difficult.
The coronavirus epidemic has severely impacted travel restrictions on the traditional summer mountaineering season in the Karakoram Mountains, especially in Pakistan, where five of the world’s 14 peaks are more than 8,000 meters high. In northern Pakistan there is also the Nanga Parbat (8,125 meters), which is feared as the “Deadly Mountain”, and formerly known as the “Mountain of Destiny of the Germans”.