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Snooth User: Philip James

K2 tradgedy kills 11

Posted by Philip James, Aug 4, 2008.

Killer Mountain; Savage Mountain... K2 has a reputation of being the toughest mountain in the world (personally i think Annapurna tops the charts of the 8,000m peaks with its 42% death ratio, but a lot of thats caused by its remoteness and the fact that there's a 1.3 mile long summit ridge at over 8,000m).

K2 has the weather, thats for sure...

Back in '95, while i was a budding alpinist, K2 made the headlines when the famous British female climber, Alison Hargreaves, was literally sucked off the mountain by violent winds. Her body was never found.

Well, K2 strikes again. This time an avalanche killed 11 people by knocking out the part of the fixed rope system that people use on the descent. This brings the fatality rate on K2 to close to 25%, and claimed nearly as many lives as the infamous 1996 Everest disaster:

Its a real shame. And whilst K2, and many of the other 8,000m peaks are beautiful, majestic peaks. I knew after my attempt that I'd never go on either a seige style expedition, or a death zone climb again.

As an aside, this is an old movie, but tries to capture the risks involved with K2:


Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Aug 5, 2008.

Why does K2 have a cooler name than the other Himalayan peaks?

Reply by Philip James, Aug 5, 2008.

Well...Everest was known as 'Peak XV', after a brief stint as peak 'b', before it was named after the surveyor, Everest.

Its local names are much cooler though: Chomolungma in Tibet and Sagarmatha in Nepal - both of them mean something like "Mother Goddess of the Sky".

Gasherbrum I and II are known as GI and GII respectively, but they lie in the shadow of K2, so they dont get much cred.

Kangchenjunga, the 3rd highest mountain, has a pretty cool name that sounds like an onomatoepeia (clang-chunk-chooga or similar)

Although written about by Mens Vogue, which is hardly a bastion of virility, there's a good slide show on the 10 deadliest mountains:

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Aug 5, 2008.

Yay - I've climbed one of the 10. #8 Mt. Washington in a t-shirt in the middle of a July snow storm. One of the worst camping trips ever.

I didn't realize that latitude compounds the effect of altitude, making Denali so vicious. I guess the atmosphere is thinner near the poles because rotational momentum of the earth's rotation? This would also mean there's an even stronger risk of sunburn on Denali, right?

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