Nims Purja completes historic K2 winter ascent

Nepali mountaineers, led by former British Army Gurkha, set a new world record and share images from the top of the world via BGAN.

A team of 10 Sherpas, led by former British Army Gurkha and UK Special Forces member, Nirmal “Nims” Purja, has smashed one of the last great remaining prizes in mountaineering – the ascent of K2 during the winter season –capturing the historic moment on social media via Inmarsat.

Known as the ‘Savage Mountain’, K2 stands at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level and is the second highest mountain in the world, straddling the Pakistan-China border in the Karakorum Range.

The sheer slopes and extreme weather conditions make the climb challenging even in summer months, but add hurricane force summit winds, temperatures below -65 degrees and less oxygen in the winter, and the climb becomes even more treacherous. 

World record

On 16 January at 17:00 local time (12:00 GMT), Nims and his team became the first ever mountaineering expedition to reach the summit to set a new world record, more than 20 years after the first attempt was made.

The Nepali climbers were originally part of a number of competing teams, however they later formed into the 10-strong group to make the climb in their country’s name and shine a spotlight on the Sherpa community. At 10m below the peak, the climbers grouped together to step onto the summit singing the Nepalese national anthem.

Commenting on the achievement Nims said: “What a journey. I’m humbled to say that as a team, we have summited the magnificent K2 in extreme winter conditions. 

Impossible possible

“We set out to make the impossible possible and we are honoured to be sharing this moment, not only with the Nepalese climbing community but with communities all across the world.

“Mother nature always has bigger things to say and standing on the summit, witness to the sheer force of her extremities, we are proud to have been a part of history for humankind and to show that collaboration, teamwork and a positive mental attitude can push limits to what we feel might be possible. Thank you for the support we’ve received from people all around the globe, it gave us fire in our chest to make this goal a reality.”

A team of Nepalese climbers has made history by becoming the first to scale the world’s second highest peak during winter— ITV News (@itvnews) January 18, 2021

Throughout his ascent, Nims was able to rely on a highly portable Cobham Explorer 710 BGAN terminal and IsatPhone 2 satellite phone for social media updates and to conduct live interviews with the press including BBC News and ITV News, from one of the most remote and inhospitable locations in the world.

Ultimate choice

BGAN operates on our resilient L-band network to offer high-performing, 99.9% reliable voice and broadband data. It’s the ultimate choice for global, mobile, portable connectivity on-demand, whatever the location – even from the top of one of the world’s most inhospitable mountains at sub-zero temperatures.

In 2019, Inmarsat supported Nims with connectivity for his Project Possible 14/7 campaign which saw him scale the world’s 14 highest mountains in one seven-month climbing season, setting a new world record when he completed the feat in just six months and six days.

Nims and team trekking up K2

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