Standing 8611 meters (28,251 feet) in height, K2 is the second tallest mountain on the planet behind Everest. It also happens to be one of the most difficult and deadliest peaks as well, which has earned it nicknames such as the “Savage Mountain” and the “Mountaineer’s Mountain.” But last week the savage was tamed when a record-setting 28 people managed to successfully summit on a single day.
Located in a remote region of Pakistan’s Karakoram range, K2 is only accessible for a brief period of time each year during the summer. Climbers usually arrive in Base Camp around mid- to late-July with the hope of taking advantage of a narrow weather window to reach the summit. In years past Mother Nature has not been so cooperative, often keeping anyone from reaching the top. Last year, only four climbers managed to climb the mountain and they were the first since 2008 when 11 people were killed in a tragic accident.
2012 has not been a particularly good year for climbers in Pakistan, as unusually cold and wet weather prevented many teams from achieving their goals. But for those climbing on K2 last week the conditions were nearly perfect for making an ascent. As a result, a record number of mountaineers were able to reach the second-highest point on Earth and add one of the toughest mountains in the world to their resume.
So far this season there have been 30 total summits of K2 with a few climbers still hoping to top out in the next few days. To put that in perspective, there were nearly 500 successful summits of Everest this past spring, which is an indication of the difference in difficulty between the two peaks. Everest may be 237 meters (777 feet) taller but K2 is orders of magnitude more challenging.
[Photo credit: Kevin Mayea via WikiMedia]