Nepali climbers the first to summit K2 in winter
Yesterday, at 5pm local time, a team of Napali climbers made history when they became the first to reach the summit of the mountain, K2, in winter.
It was a feat regarded by many as one of the most demanding in winter. K2, which is just 200m shorter than Everest, is part of the Karakoram Range that straddles the Pakistan-China border.
K2, known as the “Savage Mountain”, is one of only 14 mountains taller than 8000m in the world.
Confirming the record-setting achievment, one of the team, Nimsdai Purja MBE (an Osprey Ambassador), said:
Nimsdair said: “What a journey. I’m humbled to say that as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions.
“We set out to make the impossible possible and we are honoured to be sharing this moment, not only with the Nepalese climbing community but with communities all across the world.”
The Nepali climbers were initially spread across three of four competing teams that totalled 60 people. The 10 Nepalis later formed into a single group to claim the historic achievement in Nepal’s name. They included Nimsdai and Mingma Gyabu Sherpa, who teamed up with two other expeditions, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa’s team and Sona Sherpa from the Seven Summits Trek expedition.
Notorious among the climbing community, K2, is extremely difficult to climb even in favourable summers. Among the five highest peaks in the world, K2 is the deadliest of them all. A Spanish mountaineer died after suffering a fall this weekend while descending.
Nimsdai said: “Mother Nature always has bigger things to say and standing on the summit, witness to the sheer force of her extremities, we are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible.
“Thank you for the support we’ve received from people all around the globe, it gave us fire in our chest to make this goal a reality.”
Since the first attempt in 1987/1988, very few winter expeditions have been attempted on K2. Until now, none has climbed higher than 7650 metres.
Nepali guides, usually ethnic Sherpas, are considered the backbone of the climbing industry around the Himalayas. They regularly help foreign mountaineers on expeditions. Many people worldwide have praised the group’s success.
Kami Rita, a Nepali Sherpa guide who, since May 2018, has held the record for most ascents to the summit of Mount Everest, told news agency AFP: “For decades, Nepalis have assisted foreigners to reach the summits of the Himalayas, but we’ve not been getting the recognition we deserve.
“It is wonderful that on K2 10 Nepalis have made history and shown our bravery and strength.”
Last year Osprey celebrated Nimsdai’s completion of Project Possible, summiting the world’s 14 highest mountains in six months and six days. The previous record was just shy of eight years.