Bid to Make Climbing History Ends in Tragedy

Spain's Sergi Mingote dies trying to scale K2 in winter; a different group made it
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2021 9:00 AM CST
Bid to Make Climbing History Ends in Tragedy
K2, the second-highest mountain in the world.   (Getty/tariq sulemani)

(Newser) – For the first time, climbers have reached the top of the world's second-highest mountain in winter. But the feat comes after yet another tragedy on Pakistan's K2. Reuters reports that a team of Nepalese climbers reached the summit together on Saturday. The celebration was muted, however, by news that experienced Spanish climber Sergi Mingote fell to his death as part of a different team. The 49-year-old fell down a crevasse on his way to his team's base camp, and his tracker shows a plunge of nearly 2,000 feet, per a post at ExplorersWeb.com. It took crew members nearly 40 minutes to reach him, but he could not be saved. Mingote had shared an Instagram post the day before his death celebrating his 27th day on the mountain and the milestone of 7,000 meters, or nearly 23,000 feet.

"Sad death of Sergi Mingote at K2," tweeted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, with a translation from CNN. "He wanted to continue making history by being part of the first expedition to crown this mountain in the middle of winter and a tragic accident has ended his life." Mingote was close: K2 is 8,611 meters (28,251 feet), and prior to Saturday it was the world's only mountain above 8,000 meters never to have been scaled in winter. Its nickname is "Savage Mountain" because of brutal conditions that have claimed at least 77 lives now, per CNN. Mingote had been on another personal quest—to climb the world's 14 mountains over 8,000 meters without supplemental oxygen in record time. He had completed seven in less than two years before his death. (These climbers also are on K2 this winter.)

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