A team of Nepalese sherpas has made history by scaling the world’s second-highest peak during the winter season.
The 10 climbers reached the summit of Pakistan’s K2 on Saturday, more than 20 years after the first winter attempt to reach the 8,611m summit.
The secretary of Pakistan’s Alpine Club, Karrar Haideri, said four international teams had arrived about a month ago to scale the mountain but the Nepalis were the only ones to succeed so far.
He said that the sherpas had been spread across different teams but had formed a new group so they could claim the historic feat for their country.
Previously nobody had managed to get higher than 7,750m in the winter – a record set almost two decades ago – but on Saturday the weather conditions were fair enough for the team to push ahead.
The group comprised Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma G, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa, and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.
Mr Purja said in an Instagram post that the moment the group reached the top of the mountain was “very special”.
“The whole team waited 10m below the summit to form a group then stepped onto the summit together while 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.”
K2 is on the Pakistan-China border and during the winter, winds on K2 can reach more than 125mph and temperatures can drop as low as -60C (-76F).
The mountain was first climbed in 1954 by Italian Achille Compagnoni and he is among only 367 people to have completed the ascent. Some 86 people have died trying.
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