K2: Facts and Information About the Famous Mountain

Here are some facts about K2.

  • K2 is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest. It is 8,611 metres high and is located in the Karakoram range on the border of China and Pakistan.
  • The mountain’s name comes from a survey made of the region in the 19th century. It is also known as Mount Godwin-Austen, Chhogor and the Savage Mountain, because of its difficult ascent.

  • K2 has the second highest death rate among mountains over 8,000 metres in height. An estimated 25 percent of those who try to climb it are killed in the attempt.
  • It is considered to be the world’s most dangerous mountain for several reasons. It is very remote, very steep and sudden, strong storms are common in the area.
  • Several attempts to climb K2 were undertaken in the early 20th century.  An Italian team was the first to reach the summit in July, 1954. It was 23 years until the summit was next reached.
  • During a 1953 American attempt on K2, several climbers were saved from death with ropes and an ice axe. The ice axe is on display in a Colorado museum.
  • One of the oldest people to reach the top of the mountain was a 65 year old Spanish climber in 1965. Several people have tried to ski down the mountain although nobody has succeeded.
  • In 1986, 13 climbers died while trying to reach the top of K2. Five climbers died in a severe storm, while the others died because of falling rocks, avalanches and falls.
  • In 1986, a Polish climber was the first woman to reach the summit of K2, although she died soon afterwards. Many climbers believed that the mountain was cursed for women climbers.
  • The mountain is the subject of several mountaineering books. There are also several films featuring K2, including the 2000 film, Vertical Limit starring Chris O’Donnell.

What next? Find out more mountain facts by visiting our mountains resources page.