Due to the great commotion, debates and unknowns that the recent ascent to the winter K2 by a group of 10 Nepalese has raised, our dear friend @KrisAnnapurna has had a series of conversations with Antonios Sykaris, a mountaineer who participated integrated in the SST commercial expedition.
Kris, doing a great job, wanted to shed a little light on the concrete details of that ascent and obviously, the testimony of a direct witness like Antonios becomes very revealing.
Antonios participated in the summit attack that occurred days after the 10 Nepalese conquered K2. On February 4, 2021, an ascent attempt was launched in which Antonios, together with another twenty climbers, reached the C-III. From there, after a hard and disorganized night, he came down again with frostbite from which he is currently recovering.
These are the facts gathered by Kris during her interview.
@KrisAnnapurna and Antonios Sykaris: The facts
On the summit push there were 40 people who leaved BC for the summit push.
5 of them stayed at C1:
Mattia, Magda, Oswaldo, Peter, Jon Kedrowski
Arrived at C3 (night 4 /5 Febr):
21 people: Antonios, Noel, Tomaz, Atanas, Bernhard, Tamara, Juan Pablo, Josette, Colin+ 9 sherpas + Ali, John, Sajid.
Antonios arrived at C3 at 7 pm on 4th February, minus 39-41 Celsius
Antonios before arriving at C3, on his way up, met John Snorri, who looked optimistic.
At C3 there were in total 4 tents for 21 people:
1 tent of Tamara
1 tent of Ali
1 tent of John
1 tent of SST sherpas.
Antonios arrived at 7 pm at C3. Some of the climbers had arrived there before him, some other climbers after him.
Nobody let him get into the tents because there was no space in them. He was 45-50 minutes outside of the tents in the cold. He asked everybody several times begging them please let him get into the tents. But nobody let him because there was no space in the tents. Antonios said in front of the tent of SST “please let me enter, I will die during the night!”
His toes started to get frostbites. Finally Noel Hanna told Antonios, he can get in.Noel was in the tent of SST, with 2 or 3 sherpas.
Antonios had million times in his head: “what can I do? I want to try the summit”.
Antonios called his Family to ask for their opinion. The Family told him, they trusted him and his decision. The only one thing the Family told Antonios: they warned about toes, but they trusted and respected his own decision.
Antonios’ friend, Kostas Gabriel, also a good climber was helping Antonios providing the weather forecast. Kostas Gabriel told Antonios: in the next morning (5th February) there was expected 10-30 km/h wind and minus 65 Celsius at about 8 or 9 am.
The first people in starting summit push from C3 (during the night of 4/5 Febr) were:
First: Tomaz Rotar and the sherpa of Noel Hannah. Antonios also wanted to summit push. He asked the sherpas please to accompain him. Tomaz Rotar told Antonios: he (Tomaz) already made a deal with the sherpa of Noel, and they would go up together (Tomaz and this sherpa). Antonios insisted to the other sherpas too, offering them bonus, but they avoided to accompain him, telling him excuses.
A little bit later, after leaving Rotar and that sherpa, also Bernhard started the summit push with 2 sherpas.
The first person who returned from the push was Bernhard and the two sherpas. Bernhard arrived at C3 like a fridge, all his body and face. Bernhard said he feels pain on the toes and fingers.
Antonios continued thinking about what to do, he wanted to do the summit push. Antonios decided and he wanted to go up.Noel told Antonios: “it is not possible to go up!” Antonios called again by satellite his Family. Noel told into the phone to the wife of Antonios :” please tell Antonios not to go up!”
Tomaz returned to C3 and said, there was a big crevasse and he separated from John, Ali, Sajid and Juan Pablo. Tomaz said he could not pass through the crevasse.Antonios does not know if this crevasse was the same crevasse or not like the crevasse of the Nepalese. Antonios says, he does not know from which height Rotar returned, he knows only that he returned from a big crevasse.
Tamara did not move outside the tent at C3. Colin either. Josette: Antonios does not know it exactly but he (Antonios) thinks, Josette either, she did not leave C3, he thinks.
At 10 am on the 5th of February the people of C3 started to descend. Antonios was not assisted by sherpas. He had contracted one sherpa because of the Family (safety reasons) , but during all his expedition, he carried his things on his own, and he was assisted like 2 times by his sherpa in the mountain during the expedition .
Antonios did not have his sleeping bag at C3 because one part of his equipment was with his sherpa who finally did not carry Antonio’s sleeping bag up to C3. His sherpa was also at C3.
Antonios called Dawa from C3 (in the night of 4th February) and told him: “I want to do the summit push”.
Dawa answered him: “you can not, you must descend to lower japanese C3 ”.
Atonios answered Dawa: “what do you say?!?! I want to go up!”
But Dawa insisted Antonios not to go up. An other sherpa told the same Antonios, not to go up.
Antonios was very disappointed in the morning of the 5Th February, because he really wanted to do the summit push.
Antonios says, there was not any deposit at C3 for them. No tents, no water, no food, almost no O2. They sometimes could use a little bit O2 during the night, but just for short whiles. There were just a few bottles of O2 for all of them.
On the descent of 5th February, Antonios reached the C1. He had already severe frostbites on his toes. In this C1 were together with him for the night of 5/6 Febr. : Antonios, Bernhard, sherpa of Antonios and Sirdar (?).
Antonios finally reached BC on the 6th of February.
Antonios is very affected and sad because of the loss and death of his friends.For respect for the dead friends, as there are also 3 among them who disappeared, Antonios wants: the truth must be known.
All pictures from Antonios Sykaris Facebook