Closer to the Stars

john snorri icelandic mountaineer

The Savage Mountain When John Snorri Sigurjónsson was 14 years old, he flipped open a magazine and fell in love with a mountain. “From that point onward,” he would later remark, “there was only one mountain in my eyes.” He may have been referring to an article from 1987, which ran under the heading “Suicide […]

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John Snorri and Companions Likely Reached K2 Summit

John Snorri við Stein á Esjunni

Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri Sigurjónsson and his two companions likely reached the summit of K2 before perishing in a storm on the way down. The trio set out to summit the mountain, the world’s second-highest after Everest, last winter but lost contact with base camp on February 5, 2021. Search and rescue efforts in the following days were unsuccessful and their bodies were only found on the mountain earlier this week.

A tweet from “Team Ali Sadpara,” the Twitter account previously belonging to John Snorri’s climbing companion of the same name, revealed that Ali’s son Sajid and other climbers were transporting the three bodies further down the mountain to where they would hopefully be retrieved by helicopter at a later date. “At the moment, immediate retrieval efforts can harm the bodies as well as pose great risks to people involved,” the Tweet stated.

The team states that “as per instruments and presence of fig8 it is now confirmed that climbers had summited K2 in winters [sic] and were frozen to death due to storm on their way back.”

A memorial plaque for John Snorri has been placed at the mountain’s Gilkey Memorial. In a statement sent to media, his widow Lína Móey wrote: “John’s family wants to thank you for the warmth, support, and care that we have been shown over the past months and we would like to reiterate our sincere thanks to everyone who has taken part in the search for John Snorri, Ali, and J Pablo.”

No Traces of Icelandic Mountaineer on K2

K2 John Snorri

Several helicopter missions have failed to find any traces of Icelandic mountaineer John Snorri and his team, who have not been heard from for over three days after setting out to reach the summit of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. Sherpa Chhang Dawa, who took part in the search, stated that teams flew over an altitude of 7,000m (23,000ft) but found no clues as to what has happened to the missing climbers.

At 8,611m (28,251ft), K2 is the second-highest mountain on Earth and is considered a much more challenging climb than Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak. In 2017, John Snorri became the first Icelander to top K2, which is located on the China-Pakistan border. He then set his sights on being the first person ever to ascend the peak during winter but was beaten to that goal by Nepalese mountaineer Mingma Gyalje last month. This is John Snorri’s second attempt to ascend K2 in winter.

John Snorri is accompanied by Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara as well as Chilean climber Juan Pablo Mohr. The three lost contact with base camp late last Friday when they were some 400 metres from the peak. The search for the team began on Saturday. Ali’s son Sajid Sadpara, who accompanied the team up to 8,200 metres, stated he believes the team reached the peak and likely had an accident on the way back down.

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.