"the mountain of mountains. From a personal point of view, it is the most difficult eight-thousander. It was the first time that I had feared for my life, and you normally think that it's never going to happen to you. A great mountain, a great expedition.... a turning point in my life that no doubt led me to continue in the world of mountaineering."
First ascent: the Italian climbers Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni were the first to reach the summit on 31 July 1954 in an expedition led by Ardito Desio.
The second giant on Earth (8,611 m) is the world's most dangerous mountain. More than fifty people have died trying to climb it and its technical difficulty makes it one of the toughest challenges for any climber.
It was the only eight-thousander that Pasaban climbed in 2004, but it was a dramatic adventure. After 15 hours of tough climbing, the intense cold on the day of the assault on the summit, the complication of the final stretches and the time spent fixing ropes and creating a route ahead of all the other expeditions on the mountain, took the last drop of energy she had.
Exhausted and with frostbitten feet, the descent took Edurne to the limit and became a fight for survival. The adventure ended in her long and very painful recovery in hospital, and she had two phalanges of the toes amputated."
The Chinese authorities refer to K2 as Qogir. This comes from the name Chogori, "a compound name invented by Western explorers in the twentieth century from two balti words, chhogo ('big') and ri ('mountain').
The mountain was first surveyed in 1856 by a European survey team led by the British Henry Haversham Godwin-Austen. Thomas G. Montgomery, a member of the team, called it "K2" for being the second peak of the Karakoram range. The other important mountains were originally called K1, K3, K4, and K5, but were later renamed Masherbrum, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum II and Gasherbrum I respectively.
Legend says that K2 places a curse on women. The first woman to reach the peak was Wanda Rutkiewicz, from Poland, in 1986. The following five women trying to reach the peak have died (3 of them during the descent and the other 2 climbing other eight-thousanders). Rutkiewicz also died in Kangchenjunga in 1992.
Peak reached by Edurne Pasaban on 26 July 2004.