A team of Nepalese climbers made history on Saturday by scaling the world’s second-highest peak, Pakistan’s K2, in the winter season, a local Alpine Club official said.
Pakistan Alpine Club secretary Karrar Haideri said 10 Nepalese Sherpas reached the summit around 5pm.
At 8,611 meters, K2 is the most prominent peak on the Pakistani side of the Himalayas and the second highest in the world after Mount Everest. Winter winds in K2 can blow at over 200 km / h and temperatures drop to -60 ° C.
“This has never been done by anyone in winter before,” Haideri said.
He added that four international climbing teams had arrived about a month ago to attempt to climb K2, the last peak above 8,000m in the world that cannot be climbed in winter.
Of these dozens of climbers, the group of 10 Nepalese has so far been the only successful team.
“The impossible is possible,” Nepalese mountaineer Nirmal Purja, a former British Special Forces soldier, said on his official Instagram account after he and his team accomplished the rare feat.
“History made for humanity. History made for Nepal.
“We are proud to have been a part of human history and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push the limits of what we believe is possible.”
Since the first attempt in 1988, there have only been a handful of winter expeditions to the historic peak of the Karakoram mountain range along the Chinese border leading to the Himalayas.
Haideri said that no mountaineer had ever reached more than 7750m, until Saturday when good weather conditions allowed the climbers to continue on.
According to the Alpine Club, an unprecedented number of climbers, in four teams with a total of 48 members, converged on the mountain this winter, more than all previous winter expeditions combined.
Haideri said the 10 Nepalese climbers, who called themselves Sherpas, had previously spread out among the different teams, but formed a new group to claim the feat on behalf of Nepal.
Overshadowed by the triumph was tragedy too, with two deaths recorded at K2 over the weekend.
The body of Russian-American climber Alex Goldfarb was discovered on Monday after losing contact with base camp.
Efforts are now underway to recover it.
And the death of Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote was announced on Saturday by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, who confirmed that Mingote had been trying to become the first to climb the mountain in winter.
The peak is famous among mountaineers for its difficulty and has been given the nickname “Wild Mountain” as an ode to its unforgiving nature.
Compared to the more than 4,000 people who have climbed Mount Everest, only 350 people had been to the top of K2 in 2018 since it was first crowned in 1954.
While few have reached the top of K2, at least 77 people have died in the attempt.
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