k1Triumph and Tragedy on K2 as First Winter Ascent is Achieved — The Adventure Blog

Sherpas Make History

For years western climbers have struggled in their attempts to achieve the first winter ascent of K2, with Russian, Polish, Spanish, Italian, and American climbers all giving it a go. But in the end, it was a team of Nepali Sherpas who made the historic climb, reminding the world why they are amongst the best high altitude mountaineers on the planet.

Tragic Accident

Not long after the success of the Sherpa team was revealed, the tragic news of Mingote’s death followed close behind. The Spanish mountaineer was reportedly climbing near Camp 1 when he slipped and fell, plummeting 600 meters (1968 ft.) down the side of the mountain. At the time, he was traveling with Alex Gavan, Tamara Lunger, Magdalena Gorzkowska, and Oswaldo Oliveira, who attempted to render aid. But due to the remote nature of the fall, it took more than 40 minutes for anyone to reach Sergi. By that time, it was already too late.

More Summit Bids Yet to Come?

The news of todays triumph and tragedy are likely to have a significant impact on the climbers still in Base Camp or on the lower flanks of K2. With the possibility of achieving a first ascent now gone, it will be interesting to see how many climbers remain. The death of Sergi is likely to give some of the other alpinists pause as well. As a result, it won’t be too surprising to see some of the climbers departing for home in the days ahead.

Congratulations and Condolences

The entire team wants to send a big congratulations out to the Nepali team that completed the first ascent today. You’ve not only made your country proud, but all of us who have followed previous expeditions to K2 in winter as well. Be safe on your descent and go home to what will surely be a heroes welcome.

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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.