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Nirmal Purja assessing the damage at Camp 2 during his attempt to climb K2 in winter
Photo by Nirmal Purja archive
Nirmal Purja and Mingma Tenzi Sherpa at Campo 2 on K2 on 30/12/2020
Photo by Nirmal Purja archive
K2 at night
Photo by Manuel Lugli

K2 winter / High winds destroy Camp 2

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The storms that hit K2 last week have wrecked Camp 2, destroying all equipment belonging to the expedition led by Nirmal Purja. The 37-year-old Nepalese mountaineer has already stated he will not give up and simply postpone his attempt to climb the last remaining eight-thousander that has never been climbed before in winter.

The winter ascent of K2 has suffered a major setback as a result of the severe weather that ran rampant last week on the second highest mountain in the world. Fortunately, all the mountaineers hoping to make the historic first winter ascent of K2 were safely down at Base Camp, but at high altitude the strong winds caused considerable damage, especially to Camp 2 which has been destroyed almost completely.

This was confirmed by Nirmal Purja who, yesterday with his team, made a fast push from Base Camp to Camp 2 at 6700 meters, where at the end of December he had deposited most of his gear in preparation for a summit push."We found that both our tents and all equipments that we had left here for the summit plan are all destroyed and swept away by the wind." Purja wrote yesterday, adding "We have lost everything including all our kits; sleeping bags, mattresses, heated shoe insoles, summit gloves/mittens, summit base layers, paragliding equipment, cooking equipment etc. I am devastated to be breaking this news. Now, I have to reassess and replan everything.”

Obviously Purja’s is not the only expedition operating on the mountain; Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and his team who fixed ropes above Camp 2 also fear they have lost equipment and have stated that if this is the case, they will be forced to abandon their attempt altogether. Other climbers such as Sergi Mingote, John Snorri, Muhammad Sadpara and Sajid Ali Sadpara also fear that they have lost gear stashed at altitude, while Tamara Lunger, Alex Gavan as well as other climbers belonging to the huge Seven Summit Treks commercial expedition have not reported any losses of equipment so far, probably because they were still in the acclimatisation phase.

The setback is important for Nirmal Purja, but not even 24 hours later the ever-optimistic 37-year-old Nepalese announced he would continue to attempt the only 8000er that has not been climbed before in winter. Writing on Instagram a few minutes ago, Nims explained: "Setbacks are inevitable in life specially when you are pushing your limits and it should only make you become stronger. As you may know (or may not), I always have a back up plan for a back up plan. I am just a bit gutted about missing another summit window. However, the plan is still ON and summit plan will be pushed a bit late in the season. Today I will be regrouping with my team. We will need to do another heavy load carry to the higher camps just like last time but maybe a bit heavier. It will have to a bigger push this time. The plan is to complete fixing lines up to Camp 4, weather permitting."

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