K2 winter expeditions: Let’s go!

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and his K2 Team
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa (2nd from r.) and co. before the departure from Kathmandu

First come, first serve on K2? The first team to attempt the ascent of the second highest mountain on earth this winter has already pitched its tents at base camp, and the second is on its way. After the mountaineering trio around the Icelandic John Snorri Sigurjonsson had arrived at the foot of K2, today another trio set off from Nepal for Pakistan: Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Dawa Tenzing Sherpa and Kili Pemba Sherpa. The three Sherpas have also set themselves the goal of making the first winter ascent of K2. If the weather plays along, the two small teams may have a little time advantage. The largest group on the mountain – under the ticket of the expedition operator Seven Summit Treks – is not expected in Pakistan for a fortnight.

Icy cold

John Snorri and team in K2 Base Camp
John Snorri (r.) and team in K2 Base Camp

“The weather is windy and freezing, minus 20 degrees Celsius,” wrote John Snorri from K2 Base Camp yesterday. “Everyone is feeling okay, but after two days we will become acclimatized.” John Snorri is accompanied by Pakistan’s most successful high-altitude climber, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, and his son Sajid. All three have already climbed K2 in summer – and will probably use bottled oxygen. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa has announced that he will not be using a breathing mask. How his two team-mates will do is still open.