The second highest mountain in the world is the K2, which is only one of the few mountains that has kept the name the Great Trigonometric Survey team gave it, after the first discovery. Normally, these letter-number combinations were replaced by a local name, but in the case of K2, there was no local name to be found. Probably because it can't be seen from any settlement or village.
The mountain is famous for its difficult ascent and terrible weather conditions. Besides that the K2 is also notorious because of the high rate of casualties among the climbers attempting to summit. The first successful summit attempt was in 1954, by an Italian expedition. After that 23 years passed before some else put a foot on the top. The mountain also received worldwide publicity with the release of the films K2 in 1992, and Vertical Limit in 2000.
The nearest village to the Base Camp, Askole is a 6 to 8 days hike away from base camp. The nearest town with medical supplies and a phone is another 8-10 hours away, and can be reached from Askole by Jeeps, which need to be booked in advance.
On the Chinese side the settlement of Ilik is the closest inhabited place to the base camp on the Chinese side. It can be reached by a jeep ride from the town of Kaxgar. From Ilik it takes another 8 days by camel to reach base camp. Climbing the mountain from this side, has some additional hazards as a rescue by helicopter is not possible, as airports are too far away, and the rivers you need to cross to reach the base camp, flood some crucial crossing points from late june until august.
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