The winter at K2 is now in full swing. On the mountain, for some days now, there has been the Icelandic John Snorri with Ali Sapdara and the latter’s son. The other shipments will arrive shortly. There will be that of the only Sherpas, there will be Nirmal Puja. There will be the Seven Summit Treks team. In the latter figure the Spaniard Sergi Mingote, as deputy expedition leader. He will have the reins of command on the mountain.
But how do mountaineers prepare themselves for a winter on the 8000m peaks? What equipment is used?
What is Sergi Mingote’s equipment?
Sergi Mingote worked closely with Millet to develop expedition products in the MXP range, capable of withstanding the cold and glacial winds that blow on the second-highest peak on Earth (8,611m).
The ascension of K2, a prestigious peak for its technical difficulties and its altitude, becomes an even more ambitious challenge in winter conditions. It is therefore not surprising that K2 is the only one of the 14 peaks of 8,000 but has never been conquered by Man in winter.
After departing on 19 December, an approach to base camp in late December and an acclimatization period in January, Sergi Mingote, leader of the international Himalayan team made up of the Seven Summit Treks agency, is likely to attempt the final ascension in February. 2021.
Regardless of the outcome of the expedition, Sergi Mingote decided to return at the beginning of March, to strictly respect the period considered winter for this peak. Not content with challenging the technical difficulties, the cold, the wind, and the altitude of K2, he also wishes – as for all the other 8,000 he has climbed – to complete the ascent in alpine style, without the help of sherpa, without fixed ropes and the use of oxygen.
I tested the equipment that Millet studied for me last week in Cervinia and all my expectations were exceeded. Working 4 hands with the Annecy team, we agreed on a series of changes and chose the best performing materials to face the extreme conditions of K2 in winter, cold, and above all the wind.
Millet made innovative proposals that were successfully implemented on the expedition’s equipment.
This great expedition falls in the celebrations of the centenary of Millet, partner of Sergi Mingote. It is a unique opportunity to celebrate 100 years of the Annecy brand.
Designed for extreme temperatures like those that characterize K2 in winter, the goose down suit is the most insulating Millet has ever made.
Insulation: hydrophobic down K DRYTM THERMADOWN O2 + GOOSE DOWN RDS FP 1000 The previous suit had insulation composed of goose feathers (90%) and goose feathers (10%), with an equal filling power (FP = Fill Power) to 800. By choosing the first quality feathers and feathers, the swelling power of 1,000 allows you to store more air and to provide more heat while maintaining the same weight.
Manufacturer Allied Feather explains how the new Therma Down O2 + technology works:
We combine the effectiveness of natural down with the benefits of a survival blanket. The body heat that is reflected thanks to the reflective material plates added to the down is converted into infrared energy. This energy interacts with the vascular system and helps the body feel more heat and oxygen supply in the muscles, thanks to improved microcirculation. Therma Down O2 + technology provides more heat with reduced weight, increases thermoregulation, and allows for faster physical recovery through the reflection of infrared energy.
Fur: Coyote Although Millet has abandoned the use of animal fur for several years for obvious reasons of respect for animal welfare, Sergi Mingote wanted to add coyote fur, the only material that does not freeze, in addition to its natural properties of warmth and windbreak. The face, hands, and feet are the parts of the body most sensitive to frost.
Zipper: a central opening that passes under the legs Sergi Mingote noticed that the current Velcro collar closure system often froze at high altitudes above 8,000 m, preventing the closure and the protection of the face. We have modified the collar with a classic central closure system, without additional velcro straps.
Also, 3 drawstrings have been added instead of 2. This allows you to open only a small part of the suit (to access the internal pockets or do your own needs) without having to open it fully and let the cold in. Finally, the central zip now passes under the legs to be able to comfortably do their needs.
Internal pockets: addition of internal zip pockets Sergi Mingote wanted to be able to safely store a drone, a small camera, and other valuables. Today the suit is equipped with 5 pockets, all closed with zipping for greater safety.