First K2 Death This Year

Tragic news following a charmed summit day

Jul 31, 2014
Outside Magazine

K2 is the second-tallest mountain in the world and perhaps the deadliest.    Grazyna Niedzieska/Thinkstock

After a flurry of summits on K2 over the weekend, the mountain claimed its first victim of the season.

Spanish climber Miguel Angel Perez Alvarez, 46, died in his tent after descending to Camp 4. Some reports indicate that he made the summit, although others say he abandoned his attempt 300 meters from the top. According to the blog of Tamara Lunger, an Italian climber who made the summit, Alvarez was slow on his descent and was forced to spend a night outside above 8,000 meters before making it back to camp.

No stranger to 8,000-meter peaks, Alvarez had climbed other notable mountains, from Everest to Nanga Parbat and Manaslu to Cho Oyu.

K2, referred to as the "Savage Mountain," is notoriously deadly. Climbers are at the mercy of harsh, unpredictable weather and route conditions. A favorable weather window began around July 22, though expedition members still had to navigate technical sections on a mountain known for its high fall potential, teetering seracs, and soft snow avalanches. 

Since 1954, only 337 summits of the world's second-tallest mountain have been recorded, and 84 people have died trying.

More Stories on the Dangers of K2

Kevin Fedarko Takes on K2
How the Mountain Claimed 11 Lives in 2008
Swedish Mountaineer Fredrik Ericsson Dies, and Remains, on K2
Last Season: Avalanche Kills Father and Son