Summit wave and first fatality on K2

The 8,611-meter-high K2, the second highest mountain on earth (in 2004)

It seems almost surreal: Everest conditions on K2. After the first ascent of the second highest mountain in northern Pakistan on 31 July 1954 by the Italians Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, it took 40 years to reach the mark of 100 ascents. Today, Friday, according to reports from Pakistan, around 100 climbers are said to have reached the summit of K2 at 8,611 meters – in a single day!

On Thursday, a five-member Sherpa team – Pasdawa Sherpa, Chhiring Namgyal Sherpa (both from the operator 8K Expeditions) and Siddhi Ghising, Dorjee Gyelzen Sherpa and Rinji Sherpa (from Madison Mountaineering) – had fixed the ropes up to the highest point, achieving the first summit successes on K2 this summer. They used bottled oxygen. So did the vast majority of members of commercial teams who summited today – among them Kristin Harila of Norway (eight-thousander number eight for her this year) and Samina Baig as the first woman from Pakistan.

Stefi Troguet, Jing He and Grace Tseng reportedly without breathing masks

One of the few exceptions was Estefania, called “Stefi” Troguet. The climber from Andorra had already scaled Nanga Parbat without breathing mask in 2019. “I can’t believe it. I’m on top of K2, with no O2. The hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 30-year-old announced via GPS tracker. “This summit is for Sergi, Ali and Antonios.” Stefi’s friends Sergio Mingote of Spain and Muhammad Ali Sadpara of Pakistan had died on K2 in winter 2021, and Greek Antonios Sykaris on Dhaulagiri in Nepal last April.

According to the operator Seven Summit Treks, Chinese climber Jing He also reached the summit of K2 without bottled oxygen. In spring, she had scaled Mount Everest and neighboring Lhotse without bottled oxygen – also as a member of a commercial team, i.e. with Sherpa support. The Himalayan Database also lists eight-thousander summit successes without breathing mask for the Chinese woman, born in 1988, on Manaslu in 2017 (although she did not reach the “True Summit,” the very highest point, there), on Makalu in 2018 and on Annapurna in 2019. On Cho Oyu, she used bottled oxygen in 2016, the chronicle says.

Eight-thousander collector Grace Tseng of Taiwan also reportedly reached the summit of K2 today without breathing mask, according to Dolma Outdoor Expedition. Meanwhile, the first fatality of the summer season in the Karakoram is also reported from the mountain. The 34-year-old Afghan climber Ali Akbar Sakhi died at Camp 3, apparently from high altitude sickness.

Summit successes on Broad Peak and G II

Gasherbrum II

Further summit successes by commercial teams were reported from the eight-thousanders Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II. On G II yesterday, Sanu Sherpa was among those who reached the highest point. Nepal’s media are celebrating him as the first person to scale all 14 eight-thousanders at least twice.

“Sorry, I do not like to spoil the party, but when Sanu want to receive a certificate from Guinness World records, he needs to go back once to Dhaulagiri (2019 only Foresummit) and twice to Manaslu (all three times just a ridge point). To accept such a big historical record needs all true summits reached,” writes German chronicler Eberhard Jurgalski in a comment on Facebook. “But he finished another great record on 14th of May this year. He finished the BIG 5 (all over 8400 m) twice with Makalu. Congratulations from my side, a true record for Guinness WR.”

Jurgalski had – as reported – last week presented a new list of those climbers who claim to have scaled all 14 eight-thousanders. The list continues to cause heated debate in the scene. According to the research of a group around Jurgalski, only three climbers have actually stood on the highest points of all eight-thousanders.

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