K2, the King of Mountains, is the most treacherous in the world of mountaineering. It has never been climbed in the winter, although many expeditions have tried including the 2018 Krzysztof Wielicki expedition that also rescued Elisabeth Revol on Nanga Parbat in the middle of their K2 expedition. Other expeditions attempted it in 1988, 2003, 2012 and 2015.
K2 is undeniably the King of Mountains; climbing it is a dream aspired to by only the toughest, wildest and fit of mountaineers, even so, many die trying in the attempt. First ascended by Achille Compagnoni on 31 July 1954, the mountain has since sprouted various routes across its faces that lead to the top. Whether or not you’re crazy enough to attempt it, you’re not getting anywhere without a road map.Mountaineers usually take one of these ten pre-determined routes to the peak of K2.
Everest2017 is over, but there’s another season on the horizon. K22017 is just around the corner, and with it, comes a lot of preparation and thoughts, both good and bad. In this Editor’s Note, Base Camp Magazine’s Editor talks a bit about what to expect for K2’s upcoming climbing season and who BCM is watching closely on the mountain.
For every mountaineering season, I have a pick of mountaineers, expedition companies, guides… that I seem more interested in watching as they complete journeys; each season the picks are different, but some are constant favorites. This year, for the K2 season, I am watching Fredrik Sträng closely.
YouTube is an entire resource for some of the best K2 docs out there. These are some of the best ones we’ve found.
K2: The World’s Most Dangerous Mountain, Mountain Men: The Ghosts of K2, K2: The Killer Summit, K2: The Savage Mountain, Fatal Altitude: Tragedy on K2
Everest may be on every mountaineer’s bucket list, but true mountaineers know the prize lies on the summit of K2, or Karakoram 2, the savage mountain, the brutal mountain, the “King of Mountains.” At just 800 ft. shorter than Everest, K2 is the world’s second highest mountain; and while Everest is the tallest, it does not compare in any measure to the brutality that is an expedition on K2.
By measure of ratio, the death count on K2 is much higher than that of Everest, with well-documented mountaineering disasters in 1986, 1995 and the most recent in 2008; the 2008 disaster has been known as the most controversial of all. For every 100 mountaineers that attempt a summit on K2, 29 will die. Only 306 climbers have succeeded, 80+ have perished. Compared to Everest’s 5600+ summits and around 300 deaths, K2’s reputation, which is all but impossible to describe in words, is accurately captured by something as simple as numbers.
K2 was dubbed “Karakoram 2” in 1856 by T.G. Montgomerie, the name stuck.
If you’re over 50, you might want to cross “climbing Everest” off your bucket list of things to do. The governments of Nepal and Bengal have proposed new rules that will limit access to the mountain from climbers over 50 and novice climbers, however, new talks say the age limit has been increased to 75. While most understand the Nepalese and Bengalese Governments’ reasons for wanting to limit the amount of climbers on Everest, most mountaineers and alpine experts doubt the restrictions will pass for a few reasons. According to their proposal:
On May 10, 1996, four groups of climbers set out to summit Mount Everest – one group led by Rob Hall of Adventure Consultants, another led by Scott Fischer of Mountain Madness, an expedition organized by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and a Taiwanese expedition. The day would turn out to be the single most disastrous event in the mountain’s history, killing 8 and injuring others after an unexpected blizzard ravaged the climbers, trapping them high on the mountain. This analysis recounts the official accounts of occurrences between May 10, 1996 – May 12, 1996 and the telling of the events from two sides of the same tragedy written into two books: “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer and “The Climb” by Anatoli Boukreev – accounts that have remained controversial and conflicting in their beliefs of what and who was to blame for the tragedy.