Winter Karakorum: Client Grace Tseng Bound for K2, and Maybe More

Grace Tseng's poster announce her winter K2 expedition.

Two years ago, we wondered about the future of Winter K2. Its fate is now clearer. Like many other 8,000’ers, what used to be known as the Savage Mountain will become commercialized year-round.

This winter, Grace (Ko-Erh) Tseng of Taiwan will hope to duplicate on K2 her success this fall on Kangchenjunga. Other teams are also preparing for the winter Karakorum: a secretive American expedition to Nanga Parbat, the Polish national team to Khosar Gang Peak — and more.

On K2, Nima Gyalzen Sherpa of Dolma Outdoor Expeditions will again lead Tseng, as he did on Kangchenjunga. There, she was the only client and summited with the help of Gyalzen, winter K2 summiter Gelje Sherpa, Dakipa Sherpa, and Pasang Rinjee. As of yet, we don’t know who her guides will be on K2.

Selfie (with filters) of Tseng on Manaslu last month. Photo: Grace Tseng/Instagram

Only client on Kangchenjunga

Tseng is 28. She climbed Manaslu in 2019. Then in 2021, she decided that she wanted them all, and quickly. She climbed Everest and Lhotse in spring. In fall, she sped up on Dhaulagiri and Kangchenjunga, always as a member of a guided expedition.

On the first three peaks, she found the routes already fixed. But lonely Kangchenjunga had seen only one previous (unsuccessful) team. So her Sherpas had to fix at least the upper part of the route. She then summited as the only client.

On returning home last month, she announced her winter K2 attempt. This has now been confirmed. Not surprisingly, she intends to climb the 14×8,000’ers as fast as possible and break a number of records in the process.

K2, and then…?

We still don’t know whether Tseng will again be the only client or part of a larger group. The state of the ropes is another point of interest. Some fixed ropes were newly placed this summer, including those in the House Chimney and the upper sections. And how much bottled O2 and fuel are already on the mountain from last summer?

If Winter K2 looks too much for a relative newcomer — although with five 8,000’ers already to her credit, is Tseng even that? — consider this: Unconfirmed reports suggest that if she has time after K2, Tseng may climb Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat in winter as well.

Still, her project carries a whiff of someone who believes that they can buy anything. Let’s not forget that five experienced climbers died on K2 last winter.

Nanga Parbat and lesser peaks

Tseng’s will not be the only winter expedition on Pakistan’s 8,000’ers. An American team has a permit for Nanga Parbat. However, there is currently no information on the climbers’ names, their route or climbing style, etc.

Jasmine Tours’ Ali Porik has confirmed to ExplorersWeb that a Polish team is also returning to Pakistan, aiming for Khosar Gang (6,401m). Also no climbers’ names as yet.

Khosar Gang in summer. Photo: Jasmine Tours Pakistan

Khoshar Gang (6,401m) is a straightforward trekking peak in summer, though not in winter. It lies in the Shigar Valley, about 45km from Skardu.

Marcin Tomazsewski is also about to leave for Shipton Spire. Although his expedition will take place before calendar winter and temperatures might be not as low as in January or February, conditions on the granite face will be extremely tough.

We will confirm more expeditions in the next few days.

Nepal

Meanwhile, in Nepal, at least three expeditions are bound for winter 8,000’ers. First, there is Jost Kobusch and his solo Everest attempt. Then on Manaslu, Alex Txikon, Iñaki Alvarez and Simone Moro will combine forces. And Seven Summit Treks is trying to put together a commercial expedition on Manaslu around the same time.

As for Pakistan’s Sajid Sadpara, who had plans to join Txikon’s team, he will first have to recover completely from the health problems that forced his emergency evacuation to the hospital last week.

+2

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
6 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Don Paul
Don Paul
6 days ago

I was following Sergi Mingote and John Snorri on social media during their winter K2 attempts, and was gripped by the drama. I’ll follow Tseng’s attempt also, at least if it looks like she will make a serious attempt. It seems very unlikely she could succeed, and I don’t know what drives these people to do these things, but they are irresistable dramas.

+1
Instagrammar
Instagrammar
6 days ago
Reply to  Don Paul

Instagram filters drive people to do these things

+1
Apy
Apy
5 days ago

Angela, just to set the record straight, Grace climbed Manaslu in 2019 (see HDB) and not 2021… Though she appears to be the typical “tourist climber,” by attempting to climb K2 in winter, she certainly has not not chosen the easiest route to achieve her 14 x 8000ers. Laszlo Pinter has an interesting point of view on her.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/hohatar/permalink/1651396831734700/

+1
B Geoffries
B Geoffries
5 days ago

I think it’s great and always the direction commercial climbing was headed. More power to Tseng, hope she nails it.

0
Chogori
4 days ago

The doll is welcome to Karakoram, I have been to K2 with the previous teams in winters, the conditions are harsh manyfold as compared to summer.
Hope she would have a good team and nail it.

0
Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
2 days ago
Reply to  Chogori

“The doll”? That’s offensive.

+1
×