Nepali Team Says It Has Reached K2 Summit in a Wintertime First

KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Nepali mountain-climbing team said Saturday that it had reached the peak of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, a feat never before accomplished during winter.

“The impossible is made possible!” the team leader Nirmal Purja wrote on Facebook. “History made for mankind. History made for Nepal!”

Seven Summit Treks, an expedition company organizing the effort, said the 10 climbers had gotten to the peak on Saturday afternoon, conquering what it called “Savage Mountain” during the most dangerous climbing season.

Climbers say K2 is one of the toughest mountains to ascend even in more forgiving spring weather.

“Standing atop Mount K2 in winter is a historical and remarkable job,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association. “Nepali climbers proved their mountaineering skills. It’s a proud moment.”

K2 rises 28,251 feet, second only to Mount Everest. Part of the Karakoram range in northern Pakistan, near China, K2 was considered to be the last of the world’s 14 tallest mountains to be climbed in winter.

It was tested this time by a team led by Mr. Purja, 37, who has set records before. In 2019, Mr. Purja reached the summit of each the world’s 14 highest mountains in just over six months, a milestone for climbers.

Seven Summit Treks touted Saturday’s ascent as a landmark achievement and a testament to teamwork, but it also noted the risks still awaiting the climbers.

“It’s K2 and it’s winter, still many uncertain things may occur, we never know,” the company wrote. “Hope everyone descends to the base camp safely.”

The climbers, part of a larger team, have endured temperatures of minus-58 degrees during a journey that began in mid-December. They undertook the effort amid the coronavirus pandemic as well: Only those who had tested negative for Covid-19 were allowed to land in Pakistan and climb the mountain.

Climbers at the K2 base camp were thrilled by the ascent while acknowledging the risk that remains. “Here it is big excitement,” Lakpa Dendi Sherpa said in an interview from base camp. “We are praying for their safe descent.”

Mingma Sherpa, the chairman of Seven Summit Treks, said in an interview that the other climbers were waiting to scale the mountain after the first team fixed its rope to the summit. “But it’s not sure whether the weather permits them to climb.”

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