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with Stefan Nestler

Summit successes on K2

K 2, seen from Base Camp

It was a tough piece of work. “Finally we are at the summit of K2,” Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, head of the Nepalese expedition operator Dreamers Destination, wrote on Facebook. Besides him, eleven other climbers had reached the highest point at 8,611 meters, including six Sherpas, Mingma said. Obviously it took them about 16 hours to climb from the last high camp on the K2 Shoulder at about 7,650 meters up to the summit – no wonder considering the large amount of fresh snow, which had previously caused some teams to abandon their attempts due to the avalanche danger.

O’Brien’s fifth 8000er, Zhang’s 13th

Vanessa O’Brien

Among the lucky ones who reached the summit of the second highest mountain on earth was the American-British climber Vanessa O’Brien. For the 52-year-old, K2 was her fifth eight-thousander after Mount Everest (in 2010), Shishapangma, Cho Oyu (both in 2011) and Manaslu (in 2014). In the last two years, O’Brien had returned from K2 empty-handed. The Chinese Zhang Liang also reached the summit today. According to Mingma, the 53-year-old has now scaled 13 eight-thousanders. Since today, John Snorri Sigurjónsson is allowed to call himself the “First Icelander on K2”. The 44-year-old had already summited the eight-thousander Lhotse last May, also as the first climber of his country.

Sherpa power

Mingma had gathered a very strong and experienced Sherpa team around him. Dawa Gyalje Sherpa, Tsering Pemba Sherpa, Nima Tshering Sherpa, Lhakpa Nuru Sherpa, Nima Nuru Sherpa and Ang Tsering Sherpa have all climbed Everest, most of them even several times, in addition other eight-thousanders too. So much Sherpa power was also necessary to break the trail up to the summit of K2. Yesterday John Snorri Sigurjónsson had reported on fresh snow which was up to one meter deep.

Bravo, Mingma!

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa

If there was to award the “Eight-thousander Climber of the Season”, this honor would have to be paid to Mingma Gyalje Sherpa. Last spring, the 31-year-old had already led clients to the summits of the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri and Makalu in Nepal. At the beginning of the summer, Mingma reached along with his team the summit ridge of Nanga Parbat, but was not sure if they had really found the highest point. Despite frostbite on a toe, which Mingma had suffered during this climb, he now led his team to the summit of K2, which he had climbed for the first time in 2014 – without bottled oxygen. Hats off to Mingma’s performance! However, a climb is only really successful if all members are back in Base Camp safe and sound. This is even more true on the dangerous mountain K2. So, keep your fingers crossed!

Update 29 July: All climbers are back in Base Camp, Mingma reports on Facebook.


28. July 2017 | 14:41