‘A commercial Expedition to K2 for First Winter Ascent’ is the biggest oxymoron in recent times and probably will remain so for many years to come. In just a matter of two months, more than 30 climbers have confirmed their participation in what is now being peddled as one of the biggest gathering ever at Concordia for K2 first Winter Ascent. Notwithstanding this large assembly of climbers from across the world, Pakistani Ali Sadpara and Nepal’s Nirmal Purja aka Nims Dai are the only two strong contenders who have the mettle, experience and grit to tame this Himalayan beast which has denied access to climbers for many a decade.
Ali Sadpara, the first winter summiteer of Nanga Parbat just in the neighborhood, has joined hands with Icelander Jon Snorri with Snorri apparently leading the expedition. Snorri was extremely disappointed with his climbing partner Mingma Sherpa in his last bid to K2 Winter and had openly expressed his displeasure over his partner. So this time around, he is coming with new and seasoned partners.
Meanwhile, Mingma Sherpa, after his disappointing bid for K2 in 2019, has decided to be part of the larger and more commercial dispatch led jointly by Catalan climber Sergi Mingote and Dawa Sherpa. Hilarious as it sound, this expedition has an unbelievable strength of more than 30 aspiring climbers all pitching to stand on top of K2 in winter.
Several commercial dispatches in summer 2019 were sent packing when conditions above camp-4 restricted movement. It was only until the arrival of Nims Dai that the trail was opened for rest of the expeditions to reach the summit. This difficulty in access can be easily multiplied ten times for what can be encountered on K2 in winters.
Nims Dai bamboozled the climbing world in 2019 ransacking all 14-eight-thousanders in just seven months, announced his bid for K2 winter yesterday on Facebook. “As I’m moving into the second year of my professional mountaineering career, I want to keep pushing the boundaries of human potential with another yet ultimate challenge: K2 winter expedition. I hope you are as excited as I am.” Nims wrote on his Facebook
What remains to be seen whether Nims can perform just as good in winters as he did in summers. Winter expeditions can be painstakingly long, extremely laborious and often end without results. In other words winter expeditions are essentially a ‘waiting game’. Nims comes with a resume’ of a ‘game changer’ so it will be interesting to see how he tackles K2 in winters. He is likely to be part of the Seven Summit Treks Expedition jointly led by Dawa Sherpa and Sergi Mingote, but he has not yet disclosed it.