She Tried the Big 14 Last Year and Failed. Now, Success

Kristin Harila, Tenjen Sherpa summit at K2, scale world's highest mountains in record 92 days
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 28, 2023 7:28 AM CDT
Norwegian Woman, Sherpa Set Record for Climbing Big 14
Norwegian climber Kristin Harila, 37, is seen after summiting Annapurna in Kathmandu, Nepal, on June 6.   (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

A Norwegian woman mountain climber and her Nepali Sherpa guide have set a new record by scaling the world's 14 highest peaks in 92 days, a Pakistani mountaineering official said. On Thursday, Kristin Harila and Tenjen Sherpa summited K2 on the Chinese-Pakistani border in the Karakorum Range—considered to be among the most dangerous peaks for mountaineers, per the AP. All the peaks that the two summited are above 8,000 meters (about 26,000 feet), said Karrar Haidri, the secretary at the Alpine Club of Pakistan. The previous record-holder, Nirmal Purja, a Nepali-born British citizen, had scaled the 14 peaks in 189 days in 2019.

"A big congratulations to Kristin Harila and Tenjen Sherpa on this remarkable achievement," said Haidri. "They successfully and safely completed the scaling of all of the 14 highest peaks in the shortest time." Also Thursday, Nepali Nima Rinji Sherpa, at the age of 17, became the world's youngest climber to summit K2. His summit was separate from Harila's and Tenjen's, but the three were all part of a 20-member group that scaled K2 at different times on Thursday. The 20 are now on their way back to base camp, where a festive welcome awaits them all, Haidri said.

Considered extremely difficult to climb, K2 isn't only Earth's second-highest mountain after Mount Everest—its ascent and descent are considered to be much more challenging. K2 has one of the deadliest records for mountaineers, with most climbers dying on the descent, where the slightest mistake can trigger an avalanche and become fatal. Only a few hundred climbers have successfully reached its summit. Pakistan's military often launches rescue operations to find stranded mountaineers who travel to this South Asian country from all over the world for the sport.

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Harila and Tenjen scaled Mount Everest in May, and on Sunday, the two scaled Broad Peak, the world's 12th highest mountain, located in northern Pakistan, before starting their expedition to K2. Earlier in July, Polish climber Pawel Tomasz Kopec died after scaling Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, known as "Killer Mountain" for its dangerous conditions. He was descending the mountain in bad weather when he collapsed. Harila, 37, first attempted to break the record and climb all 14 top peaks in 2022 but summited only 12 of them after Chinese authorities restricted access to foreign climbers during the coronavirus pandemic.

(More mountaineers stories.)

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