You must have heard about K2 that it is a tough mountain.But How? There must be more challenging mountains than K2 but it is likely they would be on some other planet. As far as earth is considered K2 is second to none.So what exactly make K2 a nightmare for even the most daring
mountaineers and climbers? Here are few possible reasons:-
K2 is high and it is in fact so high
that there exist exactly one point on earth higher than it. Although officially K2 is 237 m or 781 ft feet shorter
than Everest there was a unique time in history once it was suspected
might be higher than Everest!
2. Its Symmetrical.
Ask a child to draw a mountain and most
likely he or she will come up with a triangular figure with steep slopes. That
is K2! The symmetrical shape of K2 is something which makes it a mountain that
has no backdoor or easy route. Although Pakistani side is considered to be easier
but it is not drastically different from the Chinese side.
3.It Lacks Snow.
The word Karakorum means Black Rocks. K2 as the highest peak of this mountain range justifies the name. Its lacks snow and thus appears as a giant mass of bare rock and brittle ice making the climb more challenging. In addition strong winds on K2 blow off the snow, converting this snow white into a black beauty.
If there had to be one killer other than freezing temperatures on K2 it would be wind. It is one of the major differences between winter and summer seasons on K2. In winters, Karakorams experiences a stronger jet stream than the Himalayas. These gusts on K2 can literally pluck climbers off the side of the mountain.
The freezing temperatures on K2 add just another challenge .The temperatures could drop up to -65 Centigrade on the mountain. In such conditions smallest of exposures could lead to frostbite , or even just touching bare skin to an ice axe can rip off a layer of skin.
Reaching the base camp of K2 is a feat in itself. It almost takes a journey of one week on one of the world’s most beautiful and rugged treks to have the first glimpse of K2. The Baraldo River and the glacier itself offers great vistas yet it can be challenging as the last human settlement of Askole Village is almost nine days far from K2 Base Camp.
7.It Lacks Oxygen.
especially in winter is time of low barometric pressure, which translates to
even less available oxygen than during high pressure weather windows in the
8.It Is Technical.
Last but not the least .The mountains are defined by professionals in terms of being technical for negotiating. K2 in essence is a technically difficult climb which means if all the other factors are kept aside even than K2 remains a daunting challenge.
In a deeply moving statement, a message of goodwill was sent by a team of mountaineers who themselves are stuck on K2 due to extremely harsh weather for their mountaineer friends on Nanga Parbat.
Winter on K2 and Nanga Parbat
This winter, unlike on PakPeak K2, where two highly skilled teams are present there is only one on Nanga Parbat. The expedition teams consists of two Pakistani and two European mountaineers along with a support team of 75 local porters. First winter ascent of Nanga Parbat was done in 2016.Team included mountaineers Alex, Simone More and Ali Sadpapara.
This time team will be trying to open a new route on Nanga Parbat, which it has named as ‘Mummery’. Team Nanga Parbat comprises of two Pakistanis including Rehmatullah with experience of PakPeak Gasherbrum-I and PakPeak Gasherbrum-II. Karim who scaled PakPeak Broad Peak is also in team.
The European team included Thomas Ballard who is he son of famous British female mountaineer Alison Hargreaves, who died on August 13, 1995 while descending from the summit of K2.
The second Euorpean on Nanga Parbat is Nardi who is is a seasoned mountaineer and had visited Pakistan more than 12 times.He had already scaled several peaks, including Mount Everest, PakPeak K2 and PakPeak Nanga Parbat. It will take at least two months to complete their voyage.
Any one trying to climb an 8,000-meter have to negotiate with wind gusts of over 40mph/65kph. Such winds are capable to knock off the climbers from the mountain’s slope.
While climbers on both the PakPeaks K2 and Nanga Parbat are trying hard to coup with wind and extreme cold weather of KaraKorum and Himalayas respectively,Vassiliy Pivtsov (From Kazakistan) who is leading the Eastren Team currently on K2 said
Please, give, our regards to the guys Daniel and Tom Ballard, who are on Nanga Parbat. They are in more difficult situation than we have here.
We all wish the mountaineers on both the PakPeaks successful summits and safe returns.
This winter season on the world’s second highest mountain K2 is historic in every sense.
Widely considered as “the last problem of mountaineering” climbing K2 in Winters had been a distant dream so far.Since late eighty’s only four teams have tried to climb the summit in winter; all without success. It is now almost three decades since first attempt for K2 in Winter was done and no human to date have crossed K2 beyond 7650m altitude in harsh winter of Karakorum.
Currently two Teams are on K2 seeking out to overcome this “Last Great Challenge” .
First one is the ”Western Team” comprising of Spanish and Polish Mountaineers which is lavishly equipped and sponsored, led by 37 year old Spaniard Alex Tricon.The second team is a Russian / Kazakhstan / Kirghizstan dominated which can be referred as “Eastern Team”. This team unfortunately is neither well equipped nor sponsored enough .
Despite of the fact that mountain climbing is a team sport which heavily depends on support staff including the accompanying sherpas and logistics people at the base camp it all ultimately boils down to the leadership of a daring mission like that.So how the team leaders of these two different and highly competitive teams compare to each other.
The team leader of Western Team “Alex Txikon” was born in Spain on December 12 , 1981. To his credit are almost thirty expeditions including fourteen of 8000ers . Most noticeably in 2016 he completed the first winter ascent to Nanga Parbat .With unsuccessful winter climb of Everest in 2017 and successful climb of Nanga Parbat in 2016 in Winter Alex is in good shape to meet this great challenge .
He can be reached at http://alextxikon.com/en
Vasily Pivtsov from Kazikhistan is the team leader of seven member Eastren Team currently on K2. Born on August 16, 1975 in Alma-Ata , in Kazakhstan he has climbed all 14 highest peaks of the world without the use of artificial oxygen. However on Everest he had to fall back for health reasons. The summit of the K2 as his 14th and last eight-thousand he reached on August 23, 2011.Despite the limited resources his team is also poised well to meet the Challenge of K2 in winters. He can be reached at
As both teams move cautiously inch by inch on K2 in harsh winters under their experienced leaders , it remains yet to be seen if this last great challenge is accomplished once for all or will be left for future.
While most of the Pakistanis desire to flock away somewhere due to harsh winters this season, there are few guests in town who are doing the opposite.
It is about the ultimate mountain climbing challenge. The world’s most challenging mountain combined with the harshest of weather imaginable above sea level.
Welcome to K2 in Winter.
Out of all 14 8000erspeaks, K2 is the only un climbed peak in the extremes of winter.
Two highly experienced teams ,are here to meet the challenge.One from East is Russian/Kazakhstan dominated while other one from West is Spanish/Poland dominated.
The Eastern team comprises of Vassiliy Pivtsov (Kazakhstan), the expedition leader, Dmitry Muraviov (Kazakhstan), Tursunali Aubakirov (Kazakhstan), Artem Brown (Russia), Konstantin Shepelin (Russia), Roman Abildaev (Russia) and Michael Danichkin (Kyrgyzstan).
Their offical presence is https://www.winterk2exp2019.com/
The Westren team led by renowned mountaineer Alex Txikon of Spain, includes Felix Criado (Spain), Marek Klonowski (Poland) Pawel Dunaj (Poland) and eight seasoned Sherpas from Nepal.
K2 Winter Push : The challenge of reaching K2 in Winter is now almost three decades old. Four different expeditions tried to solve this problem, but to no avail.
- 1987-1988 Polish National Expedition from Pakistan side, led by Andrzej Zawada. Climbed till 7300 m
- 2002-2003 Polish expedition from Chinese side, led by Krzystof Wielicki. Climbed till 7650 m
- 2011-2012 Russian National Expedition from Pakistan side, led by Victor Kozlov. Climbed till 7200 m
- 2017-2018 Polish National Expedition from Pakistan side, led by Krzystof Wielicki. Climbed till 7400 m
As of 27 January 2019 both teams are making progress and are in 6000m altitude range.
Take a back seat, grab your cup of hot coffee and witness this chilling East Vs West clash and bear witness to this history in making.
Want to know more about K2. Try this
Famous Movies about K2
PakPeak Group K2
Ashraf Aman 7 August 1977 Japan-Pakistan Joint Expedition
Nazir Sabir 7 August 1981 Japan-Pakistan Joint Expedition
Rajab Shah 7 July 1995 International Expedition
Asad Khan 27 July 2004 Swiss-Italian Expedition
Nisar Hussain 27 July 2004 Chinese Expedition
Shaheen Baig 28 July 2004 International Expedition
Mehrban Karim (Late) 1 August 2008 International Expedition
K2 2014 Pakistan Expedition 26 July 2014
K2 due to its high fatality rate is called as the savage mountain. Most fatal accidents in K2 ‘s history include 1986 Disaster (thirteen dead) , 1995 (six dead) and 2008 (eleven dead).The reasons for K2’s lethality includes rock fall and avalanches, unpredictable weather, steep altitude, limited numbers of routes and lack of oxygen. According to 8000ers.com so far only 302 people have completed the ascent and at least 81 people have died attempting the climb.