Romanian alpinist’s K2 winter climb: We’re waiting for the next good weather window to continue the ascent safely
Romanian alpinist Alex Gavan, who has teamed up with Italian Tamara Lunger for the winter climb of K2 without supplemental oxygen, said in a message that they are currently waiting for the next good weather window to continue their ascent safely.
"Because "safety" is one of the keywords in each of my high altitude expeditions," Gavan said.
At 8,611 meters above sea level, K2 is the second-highest mountain in the world. It is also one of the most challenging and dangerous mountains to climb, having the second highest fatality rate among the fourteen 8000+ m peaks.
"It is no coincidence that I chose not to write anything from the moment I left Skardu. In the meantime, we reached base camp and returned after the first acclimatization ascent at over 6000 meters on the wonderful, formidable, and great teacher named Chogori. K2, that is, as the West renamed it about 150 years ago," reads Gavan's message.
The top Romanian climber also said that they hadn't seen the top of K2 for more than a week due to the bad weather. But this is normal in the high mountains "and even more so in winter and in this place, especially."
Up there, the climbers face strong winds and low temperatures of minus 34 degrees Celsius "real feel" (and on the top, of minus 66 degrees Celsius). "Sometimes, when you breathe, you feel how the air that enters your lungs hurts, literally," Alex Gavan explained.
However, he also said there is no other place he'd rather be and thanked all those who have sent him positive energy and supported his dreams, vision, and projects.
Alex Gavan is a top Romanian alpinist who has climbed seven of the world's 14 peaks over 8,000 meters without using additional oxygen or Sherpas. He conquered his first peak over 8,000 meters – Cho Oyu (8,201 m) in 2006. He then continued with Gasherbrum I (8,080 m) in 2007, Makalu (8,485 m) in 2008, Manaslu (8,156 m) in 2011, Sishapangma Main (8,027 m) in 2013, Broad Peak (8,047 m) in 2014, and Gasherbrum II peak (8,035 m) in 2019.
Gavan also uses the summits of the world's highest mountains to advance environmental causes, such as the quest against illegal logging, protecting and conserving Romania's virgin forests, Vacaresti Nature Park, creating the Bucharest Green Belt, "Oltenia de sub munte" UNESCO Geopark or saving the asprete, a rare fish species.
(Photo source: courtesy of Alex Gavan)