K2 is located in the Karakoram mountain range in Baltistan Pakistan. It is 8611 m or 28251 ft high. It is the second-highest peak in the world. For most climbers, it is more difficult to climb than Mount Everest. It can be accessed from China and Pakistan. In Pakistan, it can be accessed via Askoli Shigar valley while in China it can be accessed via Shaksgam valley.
History and Naming
The name K2 is first used by Thomas Montgomerie during first survey of Karakoram Great Trigonometric Survey of British India. They replaced local names by “K” suffix. They sketched and named the two most prominent peaks like K1 and K2 while surveying from Mount Harmukh some 210 Km to the south. While the local Balti people used to call K1 as Masherbrum and K2 as Chhoghori. After few years Masherbrum was used in official documents. But the name K2 struck due to its second-ranking in the world. In ancient times Balti people used to travel Kashghar Turkistan (present Xinxiang Yughur Autonomous region in China) via Muztagh pass. This was one of the ancient trade route used by Baltis and Yughurs. Many Baltis settled in Kashghar. Salman Rashid a Pakistani writer has written a book about this route “Apricot Road to China”. He went to Kashghar and met few Balti families now settled there. Their forefathers used to travel Baltistan via Muztagh pass. Balti people named several glaciers, peaks and valleys even inside China. They named Biafo glacier, Chogholisa (Great hunting place), Trango (vertical peak), Gasherbrum (beautiful massif) and so on.
Martin Convoy reached at K2 base camp with a British team via Concordia Baltoro glacier. In 1902 first serious attempt was undertaken by Jules Jacot-Guillarmod Oscar Eckenstein, A, Heinrich Pfannl, Guy Knowles Victor Wessely, and leister Crowley via the Northeast Ridge. The team reached 6225 meters after serious attempts.
In 1909 a team led by Duke of the Abruzzi and Prince Luigi Amedeo reached 6,250 meters (20,510 ft) on the South East Spur. Now it is known as Abruzzi spur.
K2 was first climbed by Italian climbers Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni in 1954.
K2 is considered the deadliest mountain as over 80 climbers have lost their lives during the attempt to climb it. Compared to more than 4,000 people that have climbed the highest mountain Mount Everest (8,848m), just over 350 people have managed to scale the K2 (8,611m).
K2 First Winter Ascent
On 16 January 2021, a group of Nepali Sherpas climbed K2 for the first time in winter. Read more here Climbers Make The First Winter Ascent of K2 and set World Record
How to reach base camp?
A jeep road connects Skardu city with Askoli the last settlement on the way to Baltoro central Karakoram. From Askoli village trekking starts. It takes one week to reach base camp. Trekkers usually like to stay a night at different camping places. There are some special camps which are called ‘Parao’ in the local language. Porters are required to take your trekking suits, tents, and food items. If you are a foreign climber or trekker then you need a licensed guide and trekking visa. After a long journey, you will reach Concordia the meeting place of Godwin Austin glacier and Baltoro glacier. You can see the first view of K2 from here.
Movies on K2
A lot of documentary and action movies have been made on K2. Two super hit holly wood movies “K2” 1991 and “Vertical Limit” 2000 were also filmed. Other movies are The Summit 2012, K2 Siren of Himalayas 2012 and K2 and the invisible Footman 2015.