Nirmal Purja© Sandro Gromen-Hayes/Nimsdai
Mountaineering
Nirmal Purja's K2 winter summit proves ANYTHING is possible
The Nepalese mountaineer and former Gurkha becomes the first person to summit the world's second highest mountain in the depths of winter.
By Adrian Back
Published on
Nepal's Nirmal 'Nims' Purja has once again achieved the seemingly impossible after the former Gurkha and soldier in the UK's Special Boat Service attained an incredible new world-record by summitting K2 with a collaborative team in the depths of winter.
An ascent that until now seemed impossible and was famously known as the 'last great mountaineering challenge', Purja and his team officially became the first mountaineers to reach the summit in winter at 5pm local time on January 16, 2021.
Nirmal Purja is pictured during his ascent of K2 in the heart of winter on January 16, 2021.
Achieving the seemingly impossible
What a journey. I'm humbled to say that, as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions
Nirmal Purja – Nepalese mountaineer
A staggering feat and especially important for the entire Nepalese climbing community, the entire team waited and then stepped onto the summit together while singing the Nepalese national anthem.
"What a journey. I'm humbled to say that, as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions," said Purja. "We set out to make the impossible possible and we are honoured to be sharing this moment, not only with the Nepalese climbing community, but with communities all across the world.
"Mother Nature always has bigger things to say, and standing on the summit, witness to the sheer force of her extremities, we are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible. Thank you for the support we've received from people all around the globe, it gave us fire in our chest to make this goal a reality."
Nirmal Purja is pictured during his ascent of K2 on January 16, 2021.
Nirmal Purja takes his place in the history books
Standing 8,611m above sea level, K2 was the only 8,000m-plus peak in the world that had never been climbed during winter. In fact, it was considered by many to be an impossible task due to the inclement weather conditions.
The testing landscape of K2 has led to attempts normally being made in July or August, during the warmest periods. Only 280 people have reached the summit of K2 in the favourable spring season, compared to 3,681 who have made it to the top of Everest.