Credit by: der Standard

“Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains” – Jeffrey Rasley

Not many mountains are the members of 8000 club but raw and rough K2 is definitely one of them and the second highest peak in the world. Maybe it is not the first king like Mt. Everest but it is definitely the most difficult mountain of our time, the challenge of itself. The mystical and sharp peak that is dreaming in the mist of Karakoram, above Baltoro Glacier and reaching about 8,611 metres (28,251 feet) is just a bit smaller than its legendary brother, Mt. Everest with 8,848m (29,029ft). The another name of this mount is Godwin-Austen or Chhogori mountain or Savage Mountain. This is created by American climber George Bell that said how mountain is able to kill you if you try on your climb. Nevertheless, the name K2 comes from Thomas George Montgomerie – a British officer working for the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India that had to do measuring of peaks back in 1856. He spotted two peaks over 200 km away n the Karakoram region and called them K1 and K2. K should be there for Karakoram area while K1 was Masherbrum, K2 didnt have the known local name and it kept its K2.

Credit by: Trip Advisor

The ice crown of Pakistan is the one that is taking too many lives during the climbing season, from April to October. There are no winter ascent on this mountain because it would mean definitely the fatal end. Actually, it is the only one mountain that has never been conquered during the winter time or at least, it was until 2021 when local Nepali climber team lead by Nimsdai Purja made history with the first winter summit of K2. The mortality that follows the climb rate on this peak is very high if we compare few remarkable summits:“It is estimated that between one in four or five K2 summiteers die on the mountain. This is a summit-to-death rate of around 22%. On Everest, this rate is estimated to be 3%. Annapurna is the only eight-thousander with a higher death rate at around 25%.” This is not so encouraging so doesn’t surprise that only about 400 mountaineers managed to reach the top and come back alive.

Credit by: CNN

If you have some plans to climb this wild mountain, keep in mind that is better to start from the side of Pakistan. The way from China side is even more difficult. The base camp is located at around 5,150m (16,896ft) and the route combines a series of 4 camps before the final ascent of the Abruzzi Ridge to the summit. The expedition is complex and must be planned in advance since the one who is taking it must be prepared technically, physically and financially. This means that only sporty preparation and work on fitness level is not enough but also training with all climbers equipment and experience. The mountain is not a joke so also the work on its conquering must be taken very professional and serious. What impressed me about this mountain is the fact that most accidentals are happen ongoing down which confirms that the real problem with mountaineering always lies more in descent than in ascent.

Credit by: The Times

The trip wont be cheap either. There was one calculation about it:” Climbing K2 will usually cost between $15,000 and $39,000 . Experienced mountaineers can get away with spending as little as $8,000, while those looking for a more comprehensive guided experience might need to spend as much as $70,000. There are a variety of costs associated with climbing K2. At minimum you will be paying for the permits, peak fee, environmental fee and service fee. For people who aren’t full-time mountaineers, it will probably also be necessary to pay for a guide service. Most mountaineering companies’ Basic Service packages will support you with domestic transportation, emergency equipment and transfer up to 50kg of your personal baggage to basecamp. Full Service expeditions will provide additional benefits like a personal climbing sherpa, 4-5 oxygen cylinders with the equipment required to deploy them, and double occupancy lodging above base camp. A rescue bond of $10,000 is also required, and will be refunded if it is not used. Overall, per person (in a team of seven) the fixed cost would be just under $2000, with a $1,500 deposit. “

Credit by: Pakistani Ministry of Tourism

If you are not. sure if this mountain is for you, you have to consider your climbing experience and overall health. This is a notorious challenge and not a basic trek in the valley. This means active behaviour, safe steps, managing of climbing equipment and work in highly risk natural environment which could turn into catastrophe. It is recommended minimum 10 years of professional climbing experience and one peak of 8000er that is conquered successfully.

Credit by: World atlas

How long it will take if this is your choice and your own kind of savage mountain? Usually it takes from six till eight weeks, depending on the level you do in climbing profession or hobby. There are two styles in working or attempting the mountain. One is so called siege tactics that is rely on acclimatisation method and starting with camps, doing climb higher and then retreat and next day the camp is going higher with new challenge with the elevation. This helps with dealing with high attitude sickness danger and giving body a chance and time to get used on lower amount of oxygen. You also need your ideal weather frame so you can use it for a summit day and this is linked to waiting, training and lot of patience. The another style is alpine style that is great for professionals who spend time on one another peak and then do go to the basic camp and push to the summit from there in one time period. It is very advanced and it also takes from 1-2 weeks. You will need your permit from Ministry of Tourism in Islamabad and the permit fee is about 7,200$ for a team, for the south side( this means the team of 7 people). Before you plan it, make sure you have all right paperwork and you have been in contact with local porters, so called Baltis. Above all, make sure you are ready for cold nights, heavy gear, windy tents, ice covered road to the golden crown of Pakistan. You will meet many climbers, good and bad guys, with their own culture and heritage. They will be your friends and only family there, in the foots of the silent and raw ruler of the land. If you manage to kiss the K2 summit, you know you are blessed but you also need to come home safely, being protected from the God of the Mountain, till the end of your brave mission. Be humble and careful at the same time, know your limit and recognise the borders of the nature. Somewhere in between, you will find your own tempo, your own way into the infinity.

Credit by: random Photo on the Internet


  1. What a beautiful article, Sarah !

    It definitely sounds, and is, scary to try to climb this mountain. I’m not sure why people take such risks. According to Eckhart Tolle, people climb mountains, or engage in other dangerous activities, as during such activities, the mind is present and gets rid of all other thoughts, which generates that feeling of presence and satisfaction.

    Thank you, Sarah, as always, for your intriguing and amazing articles and special writing style !


  2. Sarah’s informative and interesting article reminded me that the highest terrestrial surface in The Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars: at 22 km high (13.7 miles – 72,000 ft), it is about 2.5 times higher than K2 on Earth. Olympus Mons is large shield volcano that last erupted 25 million years ago.

    The geophysics of Olympus Mons reveals how planetary systems can give rise to such massive geological formations.

    In 1877, Italianate astronomer Dr Giovanni Schiaparelli (1835-1910) documented various surface features of Mars and he correctly-conjectured that the shield volcano was incredibly- high. Though, not until 1971 was NASA able to confirm this with its Mariner 9 craft, which was designed to explore the surface of Mars. Massive dust storms coincided with Mariner 9’s exploration, and the first terrestrial surface to be documented was that of the shield volcano. Mariner 9 confirmed it to be a dormant (i.e. probable extinct) volcano and to be of a height surpassing any geological formation on Earth.


  3. That was very informative!….I have hiked many peaks, just not motivated enough to even attempt this…I would enjoy getting closer to it though, just to see and feel it, in person…it is difficult to imagine what size of a speck a climber would appear like on this mountain, pictures can not convey this.

    Liked by 1 person

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About Sarahowlgirl1982

I am a master of Political Sciences, with special focus on Security Studies, Islamic Counter Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction. I enjoy discovering and commenting things which are " in the air" but still not spoken.I also do like science writing and planing to move myself into the pure science journalism !