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Nepali Climbers Complete First Winter Summit of K2

Climbing any of the Himalaya's major peaks is a huge feat during the spring or summer. But climbing one in the winter is a whole different animal and up until now, no one had successfully climbed the formidable K2 in the winter. That all changed when on January 16, 2021, a team of Nepali climbers reached the summit together. The last of the 8,000 meter peaks to be climbed in the winter, K2 was no small prize. The team was led by Mingma Gyalje Sherpa and Nirmal Purja Pun Magar and stopped all together shortly before the summit so that they could reach it as a group while singing the Nepalese National Anthem. The full summit team included Nimsdai Purja, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Geljen Sherpa, Pem Chiri Sherpa, Dawa Tenjin Sherpa, Kilu Pemba Sherpa, and Sona Sherpa. An uncharacteristic break in weather with winds under ten miles per hour allowed the group to summit and return to Camp 3 safely. 

Previous attempts at K2's summit in the winter have largely been by European teams. The summit was not only an accomplishment for the team athletically, but also stood as a symbol of national pride and a showcase of Nepalese climbing talent. Mingma Gyalje Sherpa is an IFMGA climbing guide and currently holds twenty-two summits on 8,000 meter peaks. Nirmal Purja Pun Magar summited all fourteen 8,000 meter peaks in six months and six days in 2020, making himself a well known name in the climbing and mountaineering community. The two are now the only ones with both summer and winter ascents of K2. 

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