Has K2, the "Savage Mountain," become less savage?

Has K2, the “Savage Mountain,” become less savage?


This article is part of Climbing’s online archives documenting Climbing’s most incredible mountains, such as Everest, and its pioneering practitioners. After Everest (8,048 meters), K2 (8,611 meters/28,251 feet) is the second-highest mountain in the world. Unlike Everest and the eight highest peaks on the earth, K2 is located in Pakistan’s Karakorum, not the Himalayas. As part of Xinjiang, K2 is situat on the border between the Pakistani-Kashmir region. Gilgit-Baltistan and a slice of Kashmir administered by China. There are 14 8,000-meter peaks in the world, and most of the 100. Highest mountains are located in the Karakorum or Himalayas.  Known as “Savage Mountain,” K2 is generally regarded as one of the world’s most difficult 8,000ers, and its death rate was historically one of the highest, along with Annapurna I (8,091 meters) and Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters).

While Parbat and K2 have traditionally had lower death rates than the former. The former sits at a death rate of approximately 25%. Ascents of K2 in recent years, particularly in 2022, have contributed to lowering. The mountain’s overall death rate, which currently sits at 13%. K2 was the last 8,000-meter peak to be climb in winter (in 2021). Historically, K2 has deterred amateur mountaineers from flocking to Everest because of its difficulty and technicality.

Traffic jams are becoming a concern at the peak, mainly due to dangerous sections like the Bottleneck Couloir (see below).  The number of summits in 2022 was over 190 as of July 30, more than three times the number in 2018. Over 145 climbers also reached the meeting in 24 hours on July 22. In a July 2022 blog post, Himalayan chronicle Alan Arnette declared, “the Everest model is now official on K2.”. Arnette said, “I had been wrong about K2 becoming Everest.”

The history of

The second prominent peak of the Karakorum was map by a British team in 1856, christen K2. Initially, the other Karakakorum summits were name similarly. (K1, K3, K4, and K5), but today they are call Gasherbrum III (7,925 meters). Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters), and Gasherbrum I (8,080 meters). The extreme first expedition to summit K2 was led by Oscar Eckenstein and notorious occultist Aleister Crowley in 1902. Along with Guy Knowles, Jules Jacot-Guillarmod, Heinrich Pfannl, and Victor Wessely.

Over 68 days on the mountain, the team attempted the Northeast Ridge in brutal weather. A record was set for staying at such a high altitude for the most extend period after five attempts. As a result of the failed expedition, Crowley concluded. That the Abruzzi Spur (Southeast Spur) offered the best chance of ascending the mountain.  According to legend, this route was used by the first ascensionists on this peak, and today it is consider one. The most accessible routes on the mountain. In 1909, the Italian Duke of the Abruzzi (Luigi Amedeo) led K2’s second expedition. But he was forc back at 20,500 feet by the spur name for him.

Their efforts were redirect to the west and northeast ridges of the peak, but both failed. It was attempt again for nearly two decades when. An American expedition led by Charles Houston attempt the peak in 1938. The expedition reached 26,000 feet on the Abruzzi Spur but was turn back by bad weather nd dwindling supplies due to a lack of food. During the second expedition, the Italian Duke of the Abruzzi (Luigi Amedeo) led the team, but they were driven back by the eponymous spur at 20,500 feet.

Following their failure on the peak’s west ridge, they redirected their efforts to the mountain’s northeast ridge. However, both attempts failed. The rise was attempt again for nearly two decades when Charles Houston  it in 1938. Still, he died due to bad weather conditions on the Abruzzi Spur, where he reached 26,000 the following year and was just 600 feet from the summit when he died, leaving climber Dudley Wolfe stranded high on the mountain.

K2 Mountain Is Very Large

Rescue attempts were mae, but he refused to come down. Pasang Kikuli, Pasang Kitar, and Phinsoo were the three Sherpas who disappeared during the third and final rescue attempt. A second expedition led by Houston in 1953 was halted for ten days a violent. storm at 25,590 feet, resulting in the death of Art Gilkey. Finally, an Italian team led by Ardito Desio reached the summit of K2 on July 31, 1954edelli reached the summit via the Abruzzi Spur, with the expedition also including a Pakistani colonel Muhammad Ata-Ullah,

A Hunza porter named Amir Mehdi, and an Italian climber named Walter Bonatti. Pneumonia claimed the life of one member, Mario Puchoz. The expedition was successful, but it was also controversial because Compagnoni and Lacedelli established their high camp (Camp IX) nearly 1,000 feet higher than what they had initially agreed with Mehdi and Bonatti, who were to transport the former duo’s oxygen tanks up to their camp in preparation for their summit attempt .

When Mehdi and Bonatti reached the new drop point, they were force to bivvy in the open without sleeping bags. Though they both surviv, Mehdi lost nearly all his fingers and toes to frostbite and was hospitaliz for months. A perceived rivalry between Compagnoni and Bonatti motivated Compagnoni to move camp. Ichiro Yoshizawa led the second ascent on August 9, 1977, 23 years after Desio’s expedition. Nirmal “Nims” Purja led a 10-member Sherpa team that conquered the K2 mountain on January 16, 2021. K2 has been summited by approximately 700 climbers as of August 2022, with 190 ascents (27% of all climbs) occurring just this season. About 96 people have died on the mountain, but the fatality rate has declined from nearly 25% in previous years. For example, only three climbers were kill on the hill in 2022 or 1.6% of successful summits.

Getting to the top of the climb

Undoubtedly, the most popular route up K2 is the Abruzzi Spur, or South East Ridge, which begins  the Pakistani side and runs down to the South West Ridge. In 1954, the first ascent of this peak was made along the same route. Approximately 75% of climbers choose this route, which follows a ridgeline beginning at 17,700 feet. As well as the 100-foot crack House Chimney and the Black Pyramid. an oversized earring protruding from the prominent spur, present several technical and exposed sections.

A slope overhangs several unstable seracs approximately 1,300 feet below the summit,  as the Bottleneck Couloir Second in popularity is the Cešen, which runs just west of the Abruzzi Spur. It was first soloed by Slovenian climber Tomo esen in 1984 to a height of 26,000 feet. It was the first time the route had been soloedcal obstacles lower down on the Abruzzi, but it is significantly steeper, and features increas rockfall and avalanche risk. Nearly 60% of the way up the peak, it connects with the Abruzzi Spur.  Among the other routes on K2, there are the Northeast Ridge, North Ridge, South Face (or Central Rib), Southwest Pillar (Magic Line), Northwest Face, and Northwest Ridge. Due to its unstable ice and snow formations, the East Face of K2 has never been climb.

A few facts and figures

  • Approximately 28,251 feet above sea level.
  • The Karakorum, Kashmir, Pakistan/China regions are includ in this range
  • July 31, 1954, was the first ascent.
  • Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli were the first ascensionists
  • A total of 706 summits have been complet (approximately)
  • A total of 96 people have died cumulatively
  • There were about 13.6% fatalities.
  • Climbing costs, on average, $30,000.


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