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with Stefan Nestler

Near-record summer on K 2

K 2

K 2

I felt as if I was close to K 2 but in fact I was quite far off. After the return from our first ascent of the 7129-m-high Kokodak Dome I found out the real distance between the two mountains: 300 km as the crow flies. Not just around the corner. Because of my expedition I (and thus possibly also you as a reader of my blog) missed what was going at the second highest mountain in the world during this summer.


32 on one day

Anniversary years seem to make summit successes more likely on K 2. But perhaps it is also simply because there are more climbers on the mountain in those years. In 2004, the Golden Jubilee year of the first ascent of K 2 (on this occasion I also visited the base camp), 51 climbers reached the highest point at 8611 meters. This summer, 60 years after the first ascent,  it was only short of the record: 48 summit successes, 32 of them on 26 July, are quite a view, considering that there have been several summer seasons on K 2 like that of 2013 without anyone standing at the top.


In K 2 base camp

In K 2 base camp

There were six women among the K 2 summiters in July: the Nepalese Dawa Yangzum Sherpa , Pasang Lhamu Sherpa and Maya Sherpa, the South Tyrolean Tamara Lunger, Chinese Luo Jing and the New Zealander Chris Jensen Burke (who also has an Australian passport). It is a matter of debate whether the success of the three Sherpani counts as an “all-female summit”. The National Geographic magazine reports, that three male Sherpas accompanied the women to the summit.

On the same day, 26 July, the Czech climber Radek Jaroš was on top. The 50-year-old, who climbed without bottled oxygen, completed his eight-thousanders collection, as first Czech ever. Jaroš is only the 15th, who climbed all 14 highest mountains in the world without breathing mask.

Hot feet

K 2 from above

K 2 from above

In 2012 at the Annapurna, his 13th eight-thousander, he had lost some toes by frostbite. Now at K 2, almost the opposite happened to him. The heating coils in his expedition shoes ran hot. “When we were on our way to the summit, other climbers were kicking against the ice for better blood circulation in their feet. They felt could at their toes and tried to avoid frostbite”, Jaroš said. He had done the same, “but only to avoid to burn my toes.”


Death in Camp 4

There was one death in this K 2 season. The Spaniard Miguel Angel Perez died in Camp 4 at 8200 meters. Previously, he had reached the summit and then, apparently already suffering from high altitude sickness, bivouacked above the camp. Perez, climbing K 2 as his ninth eight-thousander, was 46 years old when he died. R.I.P.

P. S.: The attempt of the Austrian top climbers David Lama, Hansjoerg Auer and Peter Ortner Hans Jörg Auer to climb firstly via the Northeast Face of the 7821- meter- high Masherbrum (once called K 1 by British surveyors) has failed. The trio returned ​​in the lower part of the wall due to high risk of avalanches. “Climbing the Northeast Face of Masherbrum will be like nothing one of us three has ever experienced”, David Lama writes on his website. “Something completely new and so difficult it’s hard to imagine success.”


4. September 2014 | 16:30