John Snorri in winter on K2 – take two

John Snorri Sigurjonsson at K2
John Snorri Sigurjonsson at K2

He does not give in so quickly. Icelandic professional mountaineer John Snorri Sigurjonsson has arrived in Pakistan to tackle K2 for the second winter in a row. Last winter, he had reached Camp 2 at 6,600 meters in early February before his team had abandoned the expedition. Afterwards, John Snorri and the Slovenian Tomaz Rotar had accused their expedition leader, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, and other team members of having started the expedition ill-prepared. The Nepalese had rejected the accusations.

With breathing mask

John Snorri Sigurjonsson on top of K2 (in summer 2017)

Most likely John Snorri and Mingma will meet again in K2 base camp, because the Nepalese has also announced a new winter expedition to the second highest mountain on earth – this time without clients, accompanied only by two Sherpas. While Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, in his own words, wants to climb without breathing mask, the Icelander will probably use bottled oxygen. Otherwise he would hardly have posted a picture of his red expedition suit with breathing mask in the social media. John Snorri scaled the eight-thousander Lhotse in spring 2017, K2 and Broad Peak in the summer of the same year. In fall 2019 he reached the summit of Manaslu, it was his fourth success on an eight-thousander.

Father-son team

Muhammad and Sajid Ali Sadpara
Muhammad Ali Sadpara (l.) and his son Sajid

This winter, the 47-year-old, who has six children, will be accompanied by the Pakistani father-son team Ali Sadpara: Muhammad Ali Sadpara is the only Pakistani who has summited eight of the 14 eight-thousanders. After scaling all five eight-thousanders in his home country – K2, Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I and II –, some of them several times, Muhammad Ali also reached the summits of Lhotse, Makalu and Manaslu in Nepal in 2019. The 44-year-old has summited Nanga Parbat four times. In 2016 he was part of the trio that achieved the historic first winter ascent of the mountain. His son Sajid Ali Sadpara scaled K2 in summer 2019 aged 20 – as the youngest Pakistani mountaineer so far.

A total of around 50 climbers will probably attempt the 8,611-meter-high mountain this winter. K2 is the only one of the 14 eight-thousanders that has never been scaled during the cold season.

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