How Climbers Reached the K2 Summit in Winter for the First Time

The Nimsday team of six climbers was led by Borja, a former Nepalese soldier and British Special Forces operator, who – after retiring from the army – stormed the climbing scene in 2019 when he climbed all the 8,000-meter peaks in six months. And six days, which is more than seven years short of the world record.

Purja is Magar, not Sherpa, but he did put together a team of five Sherpa climbers. The team included Geljen Sherpa, who climbed several peaks in the Himalayas with Purja in 2019, and Mingma David Sherpa, known for rescuing 52 climbers from the Everest Cliffs in one season in 2016.

Mingma G, a sherpa climber who climbed Everest five times, K2 twice and climbed all of the world’s 8,000-meter peaks before turning 30, led a separate team of Sherpa climbers.

Together, they and a team of local Pakistani porters transported 70 camp tents, six dining tents and 30 custom-designed high-altitude tents for a spectacular week-long excursion over 60 miles across the ice to base camp at nearly 17,000 feet. They also packed thousands of meters of rope, dozens of snow spikes, rock betons, extra oxygen and kerosene, 360 pounds of meat, and 400 pounds of chocolate, biscuits and energy bars.

It had been decided prior to their arrival that all climbers in the base camp would follow the standard Abruzzi route that winter. On December 26, Borga and his team stuffed their bags with ropes, tents, and four days of food, and climbed a 40-degree slope to Camp 1 at 20,013 feet to begin their first four-day course at a high altitude, to acclimatize. For conditions. The next day, they moved to Camp Two at an altitude of 21,982 feet where they pitched tents under the rock ledges, providing little shelter in the howl of the wind.

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On December 28, Radio Borga tweeted. Team Mingma G has been busy installing lines on the mountainside that all teams can use during the winter season. And they needed help if they had to finish running lines all the way to Camp Three. Four members of the Nimsdai were extremely spent and went down to the base camp, but Purja and Mingma Tenzi, shoved up to 23,000 feet to lend a hand. By the time everyone got back to base camp on New Year’s Eve, Borga’s toes had caught a cold, and two Nepalese teams had joined.

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