The Winter K2 Expeditions have Turned the Mountain into a Circus — The Adventure Blog

Teams Arriving in Base Camp

For the past several years we’ve seen at least one team in K2 base camp for the winter and the 2020–2021 season is keeping that trend going. As of this writing, two teams are already there, with two more set to arrive shortly.

A Crowded Mountain

Once all four teams have reached base camp, more than 70 climbers are expected to be on K2. That’s a far cry from every other winter season, when fewer than 10 mountaineers made that journey. In fact, due to the extreme nature of winter alpinism, most teams only consist of two or three extremely skilled and tough individuals who are prepared to move fast and light, while also spending days at a time locked in a tent with no where to go. It is a brutally cold, incredibly demanding existence.

The Impossible Summit?

According to reports, one of the climbers who is a part of the Seven Summits squad is none other than Colin O’Brady. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he is the adventurer who made a name for himself skiing across Antarctica in 2018, only to have many of his claims called into question by more experienced polar explorers. The American adventurer followed that up with an equally self-serving row across the Southern Ocean last year, which did little to bolster his reputation. Unsurprisingly, he is reportedly calling his journey to K2 “The Impossible Summit,” as the word “impossible” has been prominent in the title of his previous endeavors too.

Disaster Waiting to Happen?

The stage is set for a unique and interesting winter climbing season on K2 for sure, but one can’t help but wonder whether or not we’re watching a disaster in the making. The sheer number of climbers on the mountain is enough to cause concern, but when most of them are also seriously lacking in experience and skill, we have the making of a potential tragedy as well.

Predictions for K2 Winter 2020

All of that said, I suspect very few of these climbers will actually ever make it above Camp 1. Some of the strongest, most experienced, and hardened mountaineers have found it difficult going in the deep snow, cold temperatures, and high winds of the Karakoram. More experienced and stronger teams than these have barely even climbed higher than that in the winter, and none have even gotten a sniff at the summit.

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The Adventure Blog

The Adventure Blog

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The Adventure Blog is a collection of personal stories, news, and gear reviews about a range of topics related to adventure travel, outdoor sports, and ecology.