K2 mountain is known as the world’s second highest mountain after Everest considering its tall height of 8,611 meters (28,250 feet). But surprisingly, the peak appears more dangerous than Everest, whose height difference is only 250 meters.
It lies on the Karakoram ranges, partially in the Gilgit Baltistan region of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and partially in the China-administered territory.
Mostly famous as a dangerous peak rather than the second tallest mountain, Mt K2 has killed every one climber for four climbers who attempt to reach its summit. And the situation gets worse in winter months here.
A lot of people do assume a lot of things about people and why it is so difficult and dangerous to climb. This article will try to break down the information about what makes K2 such a dangerous peak climb.
The Deadly Altitude and Extreme Weather
K2 Mountain is a fascinating and beautiful place and a dream accomplished by many mountaineers. It is the second peak after Mt Everest (the tallest Mt in the world). It was discovered in 1856 by Montgomery.
Mt K2 is mainly characterized by its high altitude and bad weather, contributing equally to making it one of the most dangerous peaks.
Deadly High Altitude:
Mt K2 base camp is located around 16,400 feet above, and the oxygen available at such height is about half that at sea level. AT a K2 summit above 8000m, oxygen available decreases to less the 30%. And at this height, there are low-oxygen environments for climbers, increasing the chance of acute mountain sickness or the worst form of high-altitude pulmonary edema and high-altitude cerebral edema.
Typically, the simpler form of AMS can be treated with proper acclimatization and rest. But if the situations worsen, simpler AMS might worsen, causing (HACE) or (HAPE) which can be life-threatening if not treated in time.
Mt K2 is a majestic attraction for mountaineers trekking. As arctic cold blasts across the midwest, many trekkers dreaming of reaching the top are getting a little taste of what it feels like to climb the peak where -15 degrees is as warm as it will ever get, especially during winter. The difference is the hardcore mountaineers stationed at the base camp of K2 have willingly sought out these bleak circumstances, all for the sake of doing a climb that has long been considered impossible.
The peak is massive and high, much farther north than Mt Everest. This means the peak attracts notoriously bad and extreme weather. This being said, back in 1986, 13 mountaineers lost their lives within a week due to the vicious storm.
The temperature around the K2 averages (-26°C)- (-41 °C), along with wind chills in summer. Likewise, the winter temperature here reaches around (-40°C)-(-65°C) along with wind chill and strong wind to 60 km/h.
Difficult and Technical Climbing Routes
There are ten routes for climbers to reach the summit, but these all are no easy routes requiring technical climbs. The names of all routers are The Abruzzi Spur Route, The North Ridge Route, The Northeast Ridge Route, The West Ridge Route, The Southwest Pillar (Magic Line) Route, The South Face (Polish Line, Central Rib) Route, The Northwest Face Route, The Northwest Ridge Route, South-Southeast Spur aand The West Face.
All these routes may require different technical climbs, but they share most same difficulties. The common challenges shared by all routes are their high altitude and low oxygen level as there is only one-their oxygen available than of sea level. Therefore, no matter which route you choose, the route here requires a challenging climb, which is way harder than Everest.
The South Face (Polish Line, Central Rib) Route is the most dangerous route to climb. These routes of K2 are not well laid as only a few climbers climb this mountain to reach its peak. Also, the peak is triangle-shaped, requiring a steep climb from day 1, no matter your route.
The most famous route here is Abruzzi Spur, and other routes are hardly approached because of the extreme difficulty of the routes. However, the Abruzzi Spur route is no less dangerous as climbers have to pass through some technical climbs like The Black Pyramid and “House’s Chimney. Likewise, they must cross a further Bottleneck called the Death zone of th Mt K2.
Higher Fatality Rate
Mt K2 is, of course, not the most dangerous mountain to climb because when it comes to the fatality rate in Annapurna, it takes the first spot with a death ratio of about 33%. But regarding technical difficulty, K2 is the world’s most dangerous and difficult eight-thousander.
Of many people who have tried to reach the K2 peak, around 377 have succeeded, where 91 climbers have died here. The peak is known to have a fatal rate of 25 % just after Annapurna 1, which has around 191 successful climbs to 61 deaths.
K2 is more dangerous to climb than Everest, and its high fatality rate of 25 % may be one of the reasons why K2 goes years without actual climbers summiting the peak compared to Everest, whose fatality rate is only 6 %.
Many factors like avalanches, strong winds, and challenging routes continue to K2’s death rate.
Talking about the fatalities, one of the deadliest was in 1986 when five climbers died due to the storm, leaving them all dehydrated and exposed. Likewise, another fatality occurred in 1995, when a group of six men and women died due to the strong wind of a brutal storm during their descent after they had successfully reached their peak. Then again, in 2008, the peak claimed the lives of 11 climbers at the death zone of the K2.
Frequent Avalanches and Rockfalls
Mt K2 appears to be an accessible peak but is way harder and more dangerous due to the Frequent Avalanches and Rockfalls. A huge ice serac looms near the summit, which can be dangerous as this huge ice serac can release large chunks of ice directly on the popular route of Mt K2.
Likewise, the rock fall in Mt K2 is ever present, dropping both vast and small objects straight into the climber’s top, mainly into the narrow gullies which must be transferred. Unfortunately, the helmet climbers carry does not protect their heads from such falls.
The weather around Mt K2 is the most unfavored one resulting in the sudden change with heavy snowfall on a steep slope above 8000m. Likewise, high winds, which can create a storm up to 161 km/h or more, sweep climbers off the high ridges of Mt K2.
The unpredictable heavy snowfall destroys the fixed lines, further accelerating the avalanche danger.
The “Savage Mountain”: A Formidable Reputation
Mt K2 has long been reputed as a savage mountain because it takes the lives of the mountaineers who dare to summit it. The peak was named Savage Mountain after George Bell, a climber on the 1953 American expedition who told reporters it’s a savage mountain that tries to kill you.
Also occasionally knowns as Chigori or Mt Godwin Austin, the name Chigori is derived from two bolty words which mean prominent and are known as a mountain. Other nicknames for the K2 are the King of the Mountains and the Mountaineer’s Mountains, as well as the Mountains of Mountains, after climber Reinhold Messner titled his book about K2 the same name.
The second-highest mountain, K2, is the deadliest and so dangerous that approx; one person dies on th mountain for every four who reach the summit. Among the most treacherous sections is the notorious bottleneck, a cool one liable to ice falls. Here 11 climbers were killed back in 2008 due to the avalanches.
K2 is the only 8000 m peak that never has been climbed from its eastern face. Ascend is almost always made in July and August, the warmest time of the year. K2’s more northern location compared to Everest makes it skeptical of inclement and colder weather.
Made up of ice and rock, the pyramid-shaped Mt K2 has steep slopes and is more difficult for even the most experienced mountaineers. So far, the mountain has claimed the lives of around 91 climbers, many of whom are in the Death zone of K2.
Mt K2 is so dangerous that the Spontaneous avalanches here have buried camps and claimed the lives of many climbers. Likewise, blizzards (snowstorms ), which are most likely to occur anytime, have caused frostbitten parties to become separated, and gale-force winds have posed a severe threat to climbers, almost causing climbers to fall to their deaths.
But despite all these dangerous factors and difficulties, the mountains still lure many bravest and most daring climbers who consistently risk reaching this majestic peak.
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Mt K2 is so Dangerous and known as a savage mountain for a reason, as it takes lives. The mountaineers who attempt to reach their peak are people who are the best of the best and the bravest ones.
These mountaineers are the ones who risk their lives to achieve something bigger in themselves, which has been long considered impossible by many. They put themselves through mental, physical, and emotional limits just to achieve the most important goal anyone can hardly imagine- summiting the second highest peak K2.