Vertical Limit: K2, The Savage Mountain - K2

Guilhem Vellut took this stunning photo of the Baltoro Glacier from the air. It helps us to see why the Baltoro provides a pathway to K2 (and other mountains in the area). The photographer tells us exactly what this photo depicts: “Aerial View of the Baltoro Glacier towards Concordia with Gasherbrum IV and Gasherbrum I on the left, Baltoro Kangri and Chogolisa on the upper right ; Mitre Peak is right in the center (where the glacier turns left while flowing down).” Click on the image to expand the view. License: CC BY-SA 2.0


K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, is located in the disputed territory of Kashmir, near its border with China. Locals call the mountain Chagori.

The majestic granite peak (also called Mount Godwin-Austen) is under Pakistani control, but India disputes Pakistan’s ownership rights in Kashmir. Heated disagreements between the two countries continue over this area of unsurpassed splendor.

One thousand miles west of the Himalayas in Nepal, the Karakoram Range (where K2 is located) contains 60 peaks above 23,000 feet—all within a central area of 100 miles. The rough, uneven 58-mile Baltoro Glacier passes by some of the world's most beautiful spires and pinnacles. It, like other mountainous regions, has receding glaciers.

The expanse of K2 itself is staggering. It would take 80 Matterhorns—one of the most beautiful and famous mountains in the European Alps—to equal its mass.

Many large glaciers (follow these links to a few world-famous examples from Glacier Bay in Alaska) exist in the Karakoram Range. One of the most important—the Baltoro—creates a route to K2. Glaciers also provide suitable places for base camps where mountain expeditions maintain their climbing operations.

Concordia (where two large glaciers converge) is the lower-level base camp for K2. It is the place from which hikers see K2. For climbers, however, Concordia is merely a stopping point. Awaiting them on the mountain are huge risks and great danger.

Danger doesn't only lurk on the mountain itself. Because of its geological formation, this area of Kashmir—although it is stunningly beautiful—is susceptible to earthquakes (and resulting mudslides and landslides).

Rescuing victims of such disasters can be extremely difficult because of the terrain. Mountain villages are often remote and without good roads.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Dec 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Jul 17, 2019

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"K2" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 01, 2000. Feb 20, 2020.
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