Winter expeditions: Storm devastates high camp on K2


Actually, Nirmal “Nims” Purja spreads almost boundless optimism. Not so yesterday after returning from Camp 2 on the Abruzzi route on K2, the second highest mountain on earth. “I am devastated to be breaking this news,” wrote the 37-year-old Nepalese. “Now, I have to reassess and replan everything.”

According to Nims’ words, the camp at about 6,700 meters was a “wreckage site”, with tents either destroyed or blown away by the storm. “We have lost everything including all our kits; sleeping bags, mattresses, heated shoe insoles, summit gloves/mittens, summit base layers, paragliding equipment, cooking equipment etc.”

Waiting for good and consistent weather

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa at K2
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa while climbing on K2

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and his team set up their Camp 2 further up, below the so-called “Black Pyramid” and deposited their equipment there. “(I) Hope our tent is there and everything is inside the tent,” the 34-year-old wrote on social media yesterday. “If the tent was blown away, then we are done to go back home.” A day later, Mingma doesn’t sound quite so pessimistic: “We are waiting in base camp for good weather to come. Weather forecast keeps on changing, so we will stay here in base camp for more days.”

Nirmal Purja and his companions
Nirmal Purja and his companions

Nims also seems to have regained his optimism after sleeping on it for a night. “Setbacks are inevitable in life specially when you are pushing your limits and it should only make you become stronger,” Purja wrote today. “I am just a bit gutted about missing another summit window. However, the plan is still ON and summit plan will be pushed a bit late in the season.” Now, he said, it’s a matter of getting spare equipment up and securing the route to Camp 4 at 7,600 meters.

Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, who is en route with the Pakistani father-son duo Muhammad and Sajid Ali Sadpara, hopes their gear, which was deposited at Camp 2, wasn’t robbed by the storm. “We took all our things out of the tent and deposit(ed) it at a rock there, except the tent”, John wrote on Instagram. “We roped it down but it’s likely in bad condition. I believe otherwise we have bigger problems as well (as) some of (the bottled) oxygen has flew down to ABC (Advanced Base Camp).”

Fresh snow on Manaslu

Not only the 8,611-meter-high K2 in Pakistan, but also the 8,163-meter-high Manaslu in Nepal has flexed its winter muscles. The two Nepalese Tenji Sherpa and Vinayak Jay Malla, who want to climb the mountain in alpine style, fought their way through a meter of fresh snow to base camp last week.

Meanwhile, Italian Simone Moro and Spaniards Alex Txikon and Inaki Alvarez arrived in the village of Samagaon, at the foot of Manaslu. They have not only set their sights on a winter ascent of the eighth highest mountain on earth, but also want to scale the nearby 7,992-meter-high Pinnacle East.

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