John Snorri’s K2 Winter Expedition Continues: “I Feel Good”

Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri Sigurjónsson is currently hoping to become the first person in history to ascend K2 during winter. “One understands why no one has been able to summit the mountain in wintertime,” John Snorri revealed in a conversation with Iceland Review yesterday.

The World’s Most Dangerous Mountain

Situated on the border of China and Pakistan, K2 is the world’s second-highest mountain standing at 8,611 meters. Besides being considered the most dangerous mountain in the world (for every four people who reach the summit, one person, on average, dies), K2 is also the only 8,000-metre peak that has never been summited during winter. Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri, alongside his team, aims to be the first to conquer K2 in winter.

Slow Going

Departing from Iceland on January 3, John Snorri reached K2 base camp on January 22, along with fellow climbers Mingma G. from Nepal, Gao Li from China, and Tomaz Rotar from Slovenia. Other supporting climbers will include Tamting Sherpa of Nepal, Phur Galjenn of Nepal, Passang Namke Sherpa of Nepal, and Sirbaz Khan of Pakistan.

As reported on Apricot Tours, it took John Snorri’s team three days to travel from Concordia, the confluence of the mighty Baltoro Glacier and the Godwin-Austen Glacier, to K2 base camp owing to bad snow conditions – a trek that normally takes seven hours. As John Snorri wrote last week on Instagram:

“The whole team has finally reached K2 base camp after [nine] days on the Baltoro glacier. We have been establishing our camp in -27°C. Tomorrow is a resting day. [W] are all tired after tough days. Friday we will start our first rotation. Up to ABC through the icefall. We need to set a safe rout[e] up.”

Unforgiving Conditions

In an online conversation with Iceland Review yesterday, John Snorri revealed that conditions on the mountain were unforgiving:

“We’re at base camp. We fixed ropes to Camp 1 yesterday. This weekend’s forecast is good, and so we plan on sleeping at Camp 1 and fixing ropes to Camp 2. The mountain is covered in ice, and there is little respite to be found. The temperature is 20 to 35 degrees below zero, and, more often than not, quite windy. I feel good. The sherpas have been complaining a little as they aren’t used to the cold; the winters in Nepal are warmer than the winters in Pakistan. It’s a difficult climb; one understands why no one has been able to summit in winter before.”

Readers can follow John Snorri’s journey on Instagram.

Rescue Teams Dispatched to Mt. Esja Following Avalanche

Esja Mountain Range

All available rescue teams in the Greater Reykjavík Area, along with other response parties, have been dispatched to Móskarðshnjúkar on the Esja mountain range following an avalanche, RÚV reports. Two individuals are believed to have been hiking on the mountain during the time of the avalanche, according to information from the Reykjavík Police. One man is believed to have been buried beneath the avalanche.

“We’re dispatching all available rescue parties,” Ásgeir Þór Ásgeirsson with the Reykjavík Police stated in an interview with RÚV.

According to Ásgeir, the Reykjavík Police is working to establish on-location control at the Esja mountain range. The Capital District Fire and Rescue Service has also been dispatched. “We’re also relying heavily on rescue teams,” Ásgeir added.

Davíð Már Bjarnason, public relations officer at ICE-SAR, stated that the avalanche had been relatively small, adding that it was not clear whether the avalanche fell close to hiking trails. The avalanche is believed to have fallen near Móskarðshnjúkar, the easternmost summits of the Esja mountain range.

A helicopter from the Icelandic Coast Guard has also been dispatched.

This article was updated at 2.16 pm.

The Esja mountain range is situated about 10 km north of Reykjavík. Esja is a popular recreation area for hikers and climbers.

Two Minor Earthquakes Near Grindavík This Morning

Grindavík - Þorbjörn

Two minor earthquakes were registered near Grindavík on the Reykjanes peninsula this morning, Vísir reports. Grindavík residents are currently preparing for a possible eruption.

According to the Icelandic Met Office, two earthquakes were registered near Grindavík in Southwest Iceland this morning. The first, which occurred at 4.31 am this morning, was of a magnitude 3.5, and the second, occurring at 4.59 am, was 3.2 on the Richter scale. The earthquakes occurred 1.9 km and 1.5 north of Grindavík respectively.

Authorities have declared a state of uncertainty due to possible magma accumulation a few kilometres west of Þorbjörn mountain on the Reykjanes peninsula (Grindavík is located 3 km south of Þorbjörn). According to the Icelandic Met Office, a land uplift of three centimetres over the past week, combined with an ongoing earthquake swarm, could be a sign that magma is accumulating underground, which could result in an eruption. Scientists are monitoring the area closely, having placed additional measuring devices on Þorbjörn.

In an interview with Vísir, Bjarki Kaldalóns Friis, natural disaster expert with the Met Office, stated that between twenty and thirty earthquakes had been registered in the area from midnight. All of the earthquakes were smaller than the quakes that happened between 4.30 and 5 am.

According to Bjarki, the two earthquakes were felt by many Grindavík residents.

“The earthquakes appear to be occurring between Grindavík and Mt. Þorbjörn, which is slightly closer to town than previous quakes; these are earthquakes that people feel, and so they are, unsurprisingly, slightly uneasy,” Bjarki stated.

Asked whether the quakes were indicative of a coming eruption, or whether they were normal given the circumstances, Bjarki replied that such earthquakes commonly accompany land uplift.

“There is a buildup of energy that is released during these earthquakes; they are not a sign of volcanic unrest,” Bjarki replied.