More People Have Been To Outer Space Than Have Successfully Climbed K2

One thing most mountain climbers agree on is that K2 will never become a Mount Everest. Located on the China-Pakistan border, K2 is the second highest mountain in the world. Mount Everest, of course, is the highest at 29,029 feet. Even though K2 is lower than Mount Everest by about 800 feet, the climbing presents an entirely different level of difficulty, complexity, and the need for skills. Each climber must have proven, long-term skills in rock, ice and snow. Falter just once and you gamble with your life. The fixed ropes are mostly a placebo, showing the route, but not strong enough to stop a fall. Climbers have to climb using their hands and feet, literally using their bodies to ascend. If they slip on loose rocks and aren’t properly secured, they will fall and die. There’s no recovery opportunity. The descent is even worse. There’s a maze of old ropes, and if you choose the wrong one, you can slip, and the ropes will likely break under your weight. Unlike Mount Everest, climbers on K2 are on their own. There are no guides, no Sherpas, no teammates. Worst of all, falling rocks big enough to kill you and avalanches are a constant threat. Add to all of this the worst weather in the world and the absence of helicopter rescue, and it’s no wonder that K2 has the highest death rate of any mountain. To date, only 367 people have successfully climbed K2, compared with 4,000 who have reached the summit of Mount Everest.