Szilárd Suhajda, a Hungarian climber, reached the top of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, without an oxygen tank. His achievement is outstanding not only among Hungarian climbers but worldwide too.
Index reports that Szilárd Suhajda made it to the top of the second-highest mountain in the world, K2. The climber set out with his partner, Dávid Klein, to reach the top without an oxygen tank, but Klein had to turn back because of stomach issues. The duo set out to climb Mount Everest without an oxygen tank two years ago but abandoned their attempt.
Suhajda, who’s achievement is extraordinary in many views, has not yet arrived at the base camp. Several alpinist blogs wrote that the climber was near camp 3 on Thursday 15:00 (according to Hungarian time).
Even though Mount Everest is significantly taller, most climbers prefer it to K2.
K2 stands at 8611 metres, making it the second-highest mountain in the world, right after Mount Everest (8848). At the same time, it is the most challenging mountain above 8000 metres: its sides are incredibly steep, and because of the dangerous weather conditions ruling there, it represents a tougher technical challenge. On top of all the difficulties created by the conditions on K2, climbing this height and such a steep terrain without an oxygen tank is even harder.
Suhajda was not only the first Hungarian to reach the top of K2, but also the first Hungarian to do this climb without an oxygen tank.
The Hungarian climber defied expectations, as this year’s climbing season seemed to be hopeless. A considerable amount of snow fell on the mountain, which could cause avalanches at any time. Index writes that the end of the climbing season is nearing and while most of the expeditions gave up, the Hungarian duo and a commercial expedition, Seven Summits, still set out to conquer the mountain.
Among the others who have turned back or remained at the base camp eventually, were star climbers like Adrian Ballinger (US) and Carla Perez (Ecuador), who both attempted to climb K2 without an oxygen tank.
Nirmal Purja (Nepal) also set out to climb K2, though he set a different challenge for himself: he wished to use an oxygen tank, but
he planned to climb all 14 of the mountains standing above 8000 metres in under seven months.
Purja, who used to be a member of the Special Boat Service, an elite special forces unit of the UK’s Royal Navy, decided to stop before K2, which was to be the tenth climb.
However, a beacon of hope arose for climbers in the form of strong winds that the end of July brought to the mountain. These winds cleared the deep snow, creating a path for the climbers. Purja and his two companions, Gesman Tamang and Lakpadendi Sherpa did not waste their time; they reached the top of K2 on the 24th of July. Seven Summits’ rope fixing crew, Changba Sherpa and Lakpa Temba Sherpa reached the top with them as well.
The Ballinger-Perez duo set out on the track beaten by the previous group. The duo was accompanied by a party of three (using oxygen tanks) to the top of the mountain.
Szilárd Suhajda set out from camp 4 on Wednesday night at 7700 metres, and reached the peak after 15 hours of climbing, at 11:30 on local time.
As he planned, he did not use an oxygen tank.
He checked in with his Facebook followers after he reached the top:
‘I am happy to announce that the Eseményhorizont K2 Expedíció 2019 was successful, I am at the top of K2. It is amazing; the clouds are scattered, I can see everything. The view from the mountain crest is beautiful’
Suhajda is expected to arrive at the camp on the 27th of July.
featured image: The Northern side of K2, Wikimedia Commons – Kuno Lechner