The Mammut Proteam mountaineer Christian Stangl has done it: After several failed attempts, he has finally made it to the summit of K2 at 8,611 meters. A mountain he prefers to call ChogoRi, the big mountain. Stangl’s successful ascent took place on July 31, 2012.
“I am overjoyed, relieved and grateful,” said a radiant Christian Stangl after landing back on home soil. This was the fifth summer in a row that he had attempted to climb the 8,611 meter white giant. It was his mountain of fate. The pressure of proving to himself and the rest of the world that he could do it had become enormous after the fake K2 summit photo in the summer of 2010. At the same time, it was not easy to find the required patience and insight to realize that it is better to turn around and come back alive than push your luck in adverse weather conditions. The mental strain of the project pushed the Austrian climber to his limits on several occasions.
So on July 31, it was a great relief to find that patience, perseverance and hard training had paid off. Christian Stangl stood on the summit of the second-highest mountain in the world! “I’m bursting with joy and feel like the phoenix rising from the ashes. After all the difficult times, I have now made my peace with Chogo Ri,” said Christian Stangl, talking about his success.
Once again this year, Stangl returned to Pakistan and choose the Abruzzi ridge for his summit attempt. From the middle to the end of July, he spent most of his time in the base camp at 5,000 meters in the company of other mountaineers. Toward the end of the month, he set out on an acclimatization tour above camp II at around 6,800 meters to camp III at 7,400 meters. As planned, Stangl spent the night with Adam Bielecki from Poland in camp III. The next morning, the two climbers quickly decided against their original plan of climbing back down again the next day as the weather was unexpectedly far better than had been expected. In a wind speed of just 45 km/hour, on July 30, they set out from camp III at around 10 pm. Camp IV, at 7,800 meters, was to their left, below the dangerous shoulder. Carrying a minimum of food and two liters of fluid, Stangl reached the summit after Adam Bielecki on July 31, 2012 a few minutes after 4 pm. Shortly before this, he had overtaken Oscar Cadiach, who had spent the night in camp IV. The two men knew each other from an expedition they had both taken part in, in May 2011 on Kangchenjunga. After 23 hours, at around 9 pm on August 1, Stangl was back in camp II, the starting point for the tour. He slept there for a few hours before climbing back down to the base camp.
Christian Stangl documented his achievement in meticulous detail. During his summit ascent, he used the location service provider SPOT Messenger to send his coordinates 21 times. These can be checked here. He also recorded his achievement in a 360-degree video recording from the summit:
“Triple Seven Summits”
The 46-year old Austrian’s latest goal is to become the first person to scale the “Triple Seven Summits”. These are the highest, second-highest and third-highest peaks on the seven continents. With K2, Stangl has now completed 20 of the 21 summits. His final peak is Mount Shkara in Russia, at 5,193 meters, which he plans to climb in September this year.
In view of the fact that no authoritative and certified ranking of the second- and third-highest continental summits exists anywhere in the world. Christian Stangl is working in partnership with geoAT to clarify the situation. Stangl has already climbed the controversial peaks and measured them using differential GPS. Stangl aims to create transparency and clarity on this issue, since there are often political reasons for the different height specifications.