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K2 Hero is Adventurer of the Year


05 January, 2009

Back in August, tragedy struck K2, the world’s second highest mountain, when an avalanche swept down its upper slopes. A climber died, the crucial fixed ropes on the Bottleneck were yanked off, and 17 climbers from around the world were marooned.

IPemba Gyalje Sherpan the midst of this disaster, one of the worst in mountaineering history, a 34-year-old Sherpa named Pemba Gyalje Sherpa descended the treacherous Bottleneck couloirs at night to Camp IV. He realized that to bivouac above 27,000 feet was sheer folly and certain death with frigid temperatures and a lack of oxygen.

The next day he set back up K2 to rescue his stranded team members. He managed to bring Italian Marco Confortola down to safety then went back up to save his team leader Wilco van Rooijen from the Netherlands, finding him lost and frostbitten.

For his extreme heroism under trying extreme circumstances, National Geographic Adventure named Pemba one of their fourteen 2008 Adventurers of the Year. For more about Pemba and K2, read The Savior and the Storm on K2 by Christian DeBenedetti at the Natl Geo Adventure website.

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