Nepali climbers make history with first winter summit of K2

File photo of K2, the world's second highest peak
File photo of K2, the world's second highest peak Copyright AMELIE HERENSTEIN / AFP
By Euronews with AP
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Since the first attempt back in 1988, no mountaineers had previously reached higher than 7,750 meters.


A team of Nepali climbers have become the first people to summit the world’s second-highest peak, K2, during the winter seasons.

The climbers reached the summit of the mountain around 5 pm, According to a local Alpine Club official, and a statement on one of the team member’s websites.

Standing at 8,611 meters, K2 is the most prominent peak on the Pakistani side of the Himalayan range, and the world's second-tallest after Mount Everest.

Winter winds on K2 can blow at more than 200 km/h and temperatures drop to minus 60C.

The secretary of Pakistan's Alpine Club, Karrar Haideri, said 10 Nepali Sherpas reached the top, adding: “This was never done by anyone before in winter.”

He said that four international climbing teams had arrived about a month ago to try scaling K2 — the last peak above 8,000 meters in the world to not be climbed in the winter.

Of these dozens of climbers, the group of 10 Nepalis have so far been the only successful team, he said.

Since the first attempt back in 1988, Haideri said no mountaineers had previously reached higher than 7,750 meters.

According to the Alpine Club, an unprecedented number of climbers, in four teams totalling 48 members, converged on the mountain this winter — more than all the previous winter expeditions put together.

A statement on the website of Nirmal Purja, one of the Sherpas — who served for six years as a Ghurka and 10 years with the UK Special Forces — said it was “a very special moment”.

“The whole team waited 10m below the summit to form a group then stepped onto the summit together whilst singing our Nepalese National Anthem. We are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible.”

On the same day, a Spanish mountaineer, Sergi Mingote, was reported to have died on K2.

The Catalan climber fell on his way back down to base camp, regional news outlets have reported.

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