Eight Reasons Why K2 Is Tough.

Eight Reasons Why K2 Is Tough.

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:-

1.Its High.

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 that K2 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.

4.Its Windy.

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.

5.Its Cold.

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.

6.Its Far.

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.

On K2 especially in winter is time of low barometric pressure, which translates to even less available oxygen than during high pressure weather windows in the summer.

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.

All Eyes on K2 – Part I (Journey of Eastern Team So far)

Just one month past 2019 and possibly the greatest adventure of the year is already unfolding at the world’s second highest mountain PakPeak K2 in Northern Pakistan.

Although it may not be as historical as stepping on the moon nevertheless first ascent of K2 in winters will be a giant leap for ambitious humans. Till to date of all the 14 mountains that rise at least 8,000 meters (26,246 feet), K2 is the only peak unclimbed during winter.

In the words of Alex Trikon, the team leader of Spanish / Polish dominated “Western Team” currently on K2, in an interview with Nat Geo said “I can’t say it’s the last challenge for the 8,000ers,but it is one of the last great challenges”.

With two geo politically different teams on K2 i.e. Russian dominated “Eastern” and European dominated “Western” team, all eyes are set on K2 from experienced climbers to couch potatoes having remotest interest in climbing.

Here is the journey of Eastren Team (Russia, Kazakhstan, and Kirghizstan) so far:-

  • Vassily Pivtsov, from Kazakhstan is the lead mountaineer and have summited all 14 8,000ers without oxygen. 
  • The Eastern team arrived in base camp on January 15 and included some of the strongest high-altitude climbers.
  • Group initially struggled to find a corporate sponsor, and raised money through selling T-shirts via their Instagram account
  • On 2 January 2019, they landed at Islamabad Airport.
  • On 4 January they moved from Islamabad.
  • On 5 January, team reached Skardu.
  • On 7 January move from Skardu for Askole.
  • On 8 tJanuary moved out from Askole.
  • On 13 th January  team reached Concordia (Throne of Mountains)
  • On 14 th January 2019 moved for K2 Base Camp.
Courtesy: National Geographic

Since 15th January 2019 team was at Base Camp and made multiple attempts for dumping and acclimatization.

  • On January 27 team reached 6274m.
  • On January 30 team reached 6613m
  • On Sun Feb 10 2019 at 1430: the team was at 7120m.

Their progress can be tracked here.

PakPeak Chogolisa Group

Chogolisa Group-Cat B- Pak Peaks

  1.  Chogolisa (SW) 7668
  2. Chogolisa (NE) 7654
  3. Baltoro Kangri 7300
  4. Baltoro Kangri (II) 7270
  5. Baltoro Kangri (IV) 7265
  6. Ice Dom 7150

Chogolisa Group-Cat C- Pak Peaks

  1. Kaberi Peak 6950
  2. Khumul Gri 6851
  3. Kondus Peak 6750
  4. Khumul Gri (II) 6706
  5. Un named Peak 6700
  6. Khumul Gri (III) 6674
  7. Tasa Brakka 6600
  8. Un named Peak 6600
  9. Un named Peak 6600
  10. Pioneer Peak 6550
  11. Khumul Gri (VI) 6350
  12. Laila 6096