Photos: Nepalese mountaineers seal first ever winter summit of K2

  • A team of ten Nepalese climbers that made the first winter summit of K2, the world’s second tallest peak, arrived in the country to a heroes' welcome on January 26. The men, who climbed the 8,611 metre (28,251 foot) K2 peak on January 16, attributed their success to team spirit and a resolve to raise their country’s pride. The mountain, that straddles the Pakistan-China border, was first climbed in 1954, but never before in the winter.

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST 12 Photos
1 / 12
Nepalese mountaineers on their way to the summit of Mt K2 in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, on January 16. The team of mountaineers who conquered one of the world's most treacherous peaks returned home to a rapturous welcome on January 26, with cheering supporters hailing their first-ever winter summit of K2 as a triumph for their Himalayan nation.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

Nepalese mountaineers on their way to the summit of Mt K2 in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, on January 16. The team of mountaineers who conquered one of the world's most treacherous peaks returned home to a rapturous welcome on January 26, with cheering supporters hailing their first-ever winter summit of K2 as a triumph for their Himalayan nation.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
2 / 12
At 8,611 metres, K2 is the second-highest mountain in the world. It is notoriously difficult to scale, and was the last of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains left un-summited in winter, even though the first winter attempt on it was made in 1987.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

At 8,611 metres, K2 is the second-highest mountain in the world. It is notoriously difficult to scale, and was the last of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains left un-summited in winter, even though the first winter attempt on it was made in 1987.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
3 / 12
Nepalese mountaineers posing for pictures after reaching the summit of Mt K2 on January 16.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

Nepalese mountaineers posing for pictures after reaching the summit of Mt K2 on January 16.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
4 / 12
The base camp of Mt K2 during the summit expedition. In 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa achieved international recognition when he completed the first summit of Everest with New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary. But in the following decades, only four other Nepalese have claimed first summits of the 14 peaks above 8,000 metres.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

The base camp of Mt K2 during the summit expedition. In 1953, Tenzing Norgay Sherpa achieved international recognition when he completed the first summit of Everest with New Zealand mountaineer Edmund Hillary. But in the following decades, only four other Nepalese have claimed first summits of the 14 peaks above 8,000 metres.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
5 / 12
Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on the way up K2. Gyalje’s team of Kili Pemba Sherpa and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa joined Nirmal Purja and his six-man also-all-Nepali team and eventually linked arms at the summit so that their historic feat would be achieved by all 10 men as one.(Courtesy Mingma Gyalje Sherpa)

Mingma Gyalje Sherpa on the way up K2. Gyalje’s team of Kili Pemba Sherpa and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa joined Nirmal Purja and his six-man also-all-Nepali team and eventually linked arms at the summit so that their historic feat would be achieved by all 10 men as one.(Courtesy Mingma Gyalje Sherpa)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
6 / 12
Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha soldier who served in Afghanistan and on an elite force of the British Royal Navy, is an avid adventurer and a veteran climber. In 2019, he summited all 14 of the world’s 8,000ers, in six months and six days. In this expedition, he was part of the six-man team that set out in competition with Gyalje’s team before they eventually joined forces.(Courtesy Nirmal Purja)

Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha soldier who served in Afghanistan and on an elite force of the British Royal Navy, is an avid adventurer and a veteran climber. In 2019, he summited all 14 of the world’s 8,000ers, in six months and six days. In this expedition, he was part of the six-man team that set out in competition with Gyalje’s team before they eventually joined forces.(Courtesy Nirmal Purja)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
7 / 12
The mountaineers seen on their way to the summit of Mt K2. The exploits of the K2 team, which included Nirmal Purja, who last year smashed the speed record for summiting the world's 14 highest peaks, reflect a changing approach of modern-day Nepali climbers.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

The mountaineers seen on their way to the summit of Mt K2. The exploits of the K2 team, which included Nirmal Purja, who last year smashed the speed record for summiting the world's 14 highest peaks, reflect a changing approach of modern-day Nepali climbers.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
8 / 12
Supplementary oxygen cylinders help climbers breathe in higher altitudes where the air is thinner.(AFP)

Supplementary oxygen cylinders help climbers breathe in higher altitudes where the air is thinner.(AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
9 / 12
“My feet were cold and I really thought that I would have to cut off my toes,” Mingma Gyalje says of the final ascent. “At one point, I couldn’t take it anymore and was ready to quit. When I reached out to my teammates higher up, their radios were fortunately off. I had no choice but to continue going up.”(Courtesy Mingma Gyalje Sherpa)

“My feet were cold and I really thought that I would have to cut off my toes,” Mingma Gyalje says of the final ascent. “At one point, I couldn’t take it anymore and was ready to quit. When I reached out to my teammates higher up, their radios were fortunately off. I had no choice but to continue going up.”(Courtesy Mingma Gyalje Sherpa)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
10 / 12
Nepalese mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa, who has climbed Everest a record 24 times, speaks during an interview with AFP on January 19. Kami Rita Sherpa said the recognition was long overdue. "The Western climbers did not set the records without the help of Sherpas," he told AFP. "All the routes are set by us, the food is cooked by us, their loads are carried by our brothers -- they haven't done it alone."(Prakash Mathema / AFP)

Nepalese mountaineer Kami Rita Sherpa, who has climbed Everest a record 24 times, speaks during an interview with AFP on January 19. Kami Rita Sherpa said the recognition was long overdue. "The Western climbers did not set the records without the help of Sherpas," he told AFP. "All the routes are set by us, the food is cooked by us, their loads are carried by our brothers -- they haven't done it alone."(Prakash Mathema / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
11 / 12
A Nepalese mountaineer seen on his way to the summit of Mt K2, on January 16. In recent years, climbers like Purja have set record after record, and are hopeful their feats will inspire the next generation of Nepali mountaineers.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

A Nepalese mountaineer seen on his way to the summit of Mt K2, on January 16. In recent years, climbers like Purja have set record after record, and are hopeful their feats will inspire the next generation of Nepali mountaineers.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST
12 / 12
Nepalese mountaineer Sona Sherpa (R) and Mingma David Sherpa pose for pictures after reaching the summit of Mt K2. "When I heard the K2 news I thought 'finally!'" Italy's legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner told AFP.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

Nepalese mountaineer Sona Sherpa (R) and Mingma David Sherpa pose for pictures after reaching the summit of Mt K2. "When I heard the K2 news I thought 'finally!'" Italy's legendary mountaineer Reinhold Messner told AFP.(Seven Summit Treks / AFP)

UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 02:21 PM IST

[OTHER GALLERIES]

SHARE
Story Saved