Nepalese climbing team makes first winter ascent of K2

Mountaineering history has been made on Saturday 16th January 2021. A team of 10 Nepalese climbers reached the summit of the world’s 2nd highest mountain K2 (8,611m, 28,251ft) in winter. All summit team members have safely made the descent back to K2 base camp. 

Over the last 34 years, six international teams made up of some of the best mountaineers in the world, have attempted this coveted prize, but none were successful.

Why ‘The Savage Mountain’?

It is an amazing achievement as K2 is considered one of the most dangerous and difficult mountains to climb, due to its technical difficulty and high risk of rock fall and avalanches. To climb the mountain in winter where it is much colder, more wind, and more snow is astonishing.

While ascending the Abruzzi Spur route, the team of 10 Sherpas and Nepalis endured temperatures of -50 C and gale force winds. Supplemental oxygen was used to break trail and put in fixed line. In the mountains, teamwork is key. All the teams worked together to fix the lines early on K2. Another big factor that helped them reach the summit was the weather and they got lucky with it. Getting a good weather window is a key element in making a summit of any mountain.

Super Skills and Strength of the Sherpas

This is a well-deserved first for the Sherpas, the climbing community of Nepal and the Nepalese people. For many years they have helped people from around the world achieve their dreams in the Himalayas. Now they have achieved their very own first, the last 8,000m mountain, a winter ascent of K2. No individual was credited for the 1st ascent but rather the Nepalese team. As they reached the summit together, they sang the Nepali national anthem. An immensely proud moment for the team and the people of Nepal.

This achievement shows the world the incredible strength and skills of the Sherpas and people of Nepal when it comes to high altitude mountaineering. They are among the best climbers in the world.

The Waiting Game

There are still many international climbers, Sherpas and Pakistani climbers in K2 base camp, waiting and hoping to get their chance to make a summit attempt.  Another attempt will depend on the mountain conditions, weather, and working together to move up the mountain.

Our friend John Snorri Sigurjonsson who is climbing with local Pakistani heroes Mohammed Ali Sadpara and Alis son Sajid have completed their acclimitsation to camp 3. They were the first team to arrive in K2 base camp last December and fixed the line to camp 1.

We wish John, Mohammed, Sajid, and all the remaining climbers on K2 the best of luck with their summit attempts. Stay safe and enjoy the climb. 

The World Sherpas team send a huge congratulations to the 10 Nepali climbers who made mountaineering history and reached the summit of K2 in Winter.

Related article