K2 Update: Tragedy as Mingote dies in fall
- Monday 18th January 2021
Following the 10-man summit success on K2 on Saturday, news has emerged that Spanish mountaineer, Sergi Mingote, has died after a fall descending from Camp 1.
The news of the incredible first winter ascent of K2 by the 10-man, all-Nelapi team on Saturday was shattered by a breaking S.O.S. shared by the Italian-Spanish team on Manaslu. Fernando J. Perez, a journalist accompanying Alex Txikon, reported that Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote had fallen whilst descending down from Camp 1 on K2 heading towards Advance Base Camp.
At the time we published our summit report Mingote was known to be unconscious and that a rescue operation was ongoing. Since then, sadly, it has been reported that despite the best efforts of everyone concerned, Mingote died as a result of his injuries. His body has been recovered and is being flown out.
The devastating news of Sergie Mingote’s death came from Chhang Dawa Sherpa at K2 Base Camp. Chhang Dawa Sherpa gave the details: “Alex Gavan, Tamara and two other polish climbers gave him help in ABC, we sent medical team from Basecamp but unfortunately could not save him anymore.
We were informed by unexpected movement on his gps tracker and could see he made a big fall, members at the site quickly confirmed the accident, but couldn’t do much to help him anymore.”
The exact details surrounding Mingote’s fall are still unknown. However, it is understood that he fell some 600m from what is described as the long and fairly steep snow slope down from C1 to ABC. It has also been reported that this section had clear, blue ice. Typically, climbers are attached to a fixed rope on this section.
The 49-year old experienced Catalonian mountaineer was attempting to climb K2 without supplementary oxygen. He was part of another team rather than climbing with the Nepalese mountaineers. Previously, Mingote had climbed seven of the 14 8000’ers all without O2: Broad Peak, K2 and Manaslu – all in 2018; Lhotse, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum II and Dhaulagiri in 2019. Previously, he had summited Everest twice; initially from Tibet in 2001 and then again from Nepal in 2003.
Following news of Mingot’s death, Nims (@nimsdai) has reported that all the successful summit team have how descended safely and are back at Base Camp. Gelje Sherpa and Sona Sherpa descended back to Base Camp in a monster 36-hour push whilst the remaining eight team members, Nims included, rested at Camp 3 before completing their descent.
Any further attempts on the summit of K2 this winter will now have to wait until the current high winds – estimated to be up to 100mph – have abated. The official “winter” period extends into March so there is still time for more summit bids to be attempted. However, like Nims’s team last week, aspiring summit teams may need to re-establish and re-stock the high camps after the storms have passed as typically the winds are so high that the camps and equipment are stripped off the mountain.