The Sherpa group on the summit of K2. Photo: Nimsdai Purja

The Sherpa group who summited K2. Photo: Nimsdai Purja

A group of Nepalese Sherpas has made a historic first winter ascent of the world’s second-highest mountain.

Former Gurkha Nimsdai Purja was among 10 men who successfully summited K2 at 5pm local time on Saturday.

The 8,610m (28,250ft) Karakorum peak on the Pakistan-China border has been dubbed ‘the savage mountain’ because of the numerous mountaineering casualties and deaths that have occurred on it. It had never before been summited during winter.

Former Special Boat Service member Nimsdai is an ambassador for gear brand Osprey and was supported in the expedition by the company. He teamed up with two other groups, led by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and Sona Sherpa for the climb.

Nimsdai Purja is an Osprey ambassador

Nimsdai Purja is an Osprey ambassador

Nimsdai Purja said: “What a journey. I’m humbled to say that as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions.

“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.”

The winter summiteers were: Nimsdai Purja, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, of Team Nimsdai; Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Dawa Tenzing Sherpa, Kilu Pemba Sherpa of Team Mingma G; and Sona Sherpa of Team Seven Summits Trek.

Gary Burnand, head of marketing at Osprey Europe, adds: “Today we have seen Nimsdai rewriting climbing history once more, and from everyone at Osprey I would personally like to congratulate Nimsdai and teams on such an incredible accomplishment.

“Climbing K2 in winter is not only one of the greatest but also toughest mountaineering challenge of all time and Nimsdai with his sheer determination, mental and physical strength was able to succeed in his mission. This really acts as inspiration for us all given the limitations many of us are under.”

Nimsdai ‘Nims’ Purja was appointed an MBE in 2019 for services to high-altitude mountaineering. In 2020 he completed his Project Possible, summiting the world’s 14 highest mountains in six months and six days, smashing the previous record of almost eight years.

He used an Osprey Talon Pro rucksack and the brand’s other gear during his successful winter K2 ascent.

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