More »
K2 THE HARDEST WAY

An image created using satellite measurements shows the expedition’s key camps along K2’s North Ridge route, which follows the steep fin of rock and snow to the so-called Japanese Couloir, a gorge just below the summit. The route was first scaled in 1982, by a Japanese expedition. K2 takes its name from the 1856 survey notes of British explorer T. G. Montgomerie: “K” for Karakoram, a subrange of the Himalaya, and “2” for the second peak he noted on the horizon.

CLICK ICONS ALONG ROUTE TO SEE PHOTOS

x

TOMMY HEINRICH

To get to Camp I, Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner leads the expedition across this crevasse in the upper portion of the K2 North Glacier.

x

TOMMY HEINRICH

Maxut Zhumayev works his way upward from Camp I to Camp II.

x

RALF DUJMOVITS

Kaltenbrunner (in red) and Zhumayev negotiate a passage between Camp I and Camp II.

x

TOMMY HEINRICH

Kaltenbrunner (at left) and her husband, Ralf Dujmovits, work at Camp III before the summit push.

x

DARIUSZ ZAŁUSKI

At Camp III four of the K2 climbers discuss the next day’s plans.

x

DARIUSZ ZAŁUSKI

Above Camp IV Vassily Pivtsov (leading), Zhumayev, and Kaltenbrunner approach the Japanese Couloir.

x

DARIUSZ ZAŁUSKI

Kaltenbrunner kneels at the summit, 8,611 meters above sea level.

JUAN VELASCO AND MAGGIE SMITH, NGM STAFF
SOURCES: GERMAN AEROSPACE CENTER; RALF DUJMOVITS; MAXUT ZHUMAYEV