Biggest K2 winter expedition begins

GILGIT: The biggest international K2 winter expedition began on Tuesday as eight Sherpas from Nepal left Skardu for the K2 base camp.

Other members of the 50-strong team from 18 countries will depart later.

Chhang Dawa Sherpa, 39, leads the expedition.

The team comprises 27 Sherpas from Nepal and 23 men and women from Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Spain, Canada, Finland, USA, Chile, Italy, Romania and Slovenia. Climbers Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali from Sadpara are part of the expedition.

Blue Sky Treks and Tours has organised the expedition. Its managing director Ghulam Mohammad told Media that eight Sherpas reached Skardu from Nepal on Monday and left for K2 base camp on Tuesday.

He said after one week trek, Sherpas would prepare the base camp, while other members of the team would reach Skardu next week.

Mr Ghulam Mohammad said more Sherpas would fly to Islamabad on Dec 18, while other climbers would arrive in Pakistan between Dec 16 and Dec 21 and would move to the base camp on Dec 24.

He said currently, the temperature at base camp was minus 10-20 degree centigrade.

The MD said a total of 56 climbers from 19 countries would attempt to summit K2, the world’s second highest peak (8,611m), in the current winter season.

Meanwhile, inclement weather on K2 troubled a three-member climbing team.

Climbers John Snorri from Iceland and Pakistanis Mohammad Ali Sadpara and his son Sajid Sadpara are reported to be struggling to climb K2 from the base camp.

On Monday, they trekked to the advanced base camp and planned to fix lines up to camps 1 and 2 but bad weather forced them to return.

The team began their trek to K2 base camp from Skardu last week.