First 2 S'porean women reach 'Savage Mountain' K2 summit, world's second highest peak

Both of them have previously conquered Mount Everest as well.

Daniel Seow | August 24, 2023, 05:45 PM



A pair of Singaporean women have reached the summit of K2, the second-highest mountain in the world, and made history as the first women from Singapore to successfully do so.

K2 is located in the Karakoram mountain range, which is in the Kashmir region under the administration of Pakistan.

The climbers, Vincere Zeng, 31, and Sim Phei Sunn, 47, achieved the feat on July 27, ascending to the peak of K2, which stands at 8,611m and is second only to Mount Everest (8,848m).

Only two Singaporeans -- both men -- have completed the treacherous climb previously, in 2012 and 2014 respectively.

Despite not being the highest, K2, is generally considered the most difficult peak in the world to reach, due to its steep ascent and unforgiving terrain. About 90 climbers have died trying to conquer K2 since 1954.

It has earned the nickname "The Savage Mountain" as a result.

The climb

Zeng shared some snippets of the climb in a photo album on Facebook.

This was her at the Base Camp of K2.

Image from Vincere Zeng on Facebook.

And during the climb to another camp on K2, she noted the steepness of the ascent.

"On a good day. But K2 is never flat," she wrote.

According to Insider, climbers hoping to reach K2's summit have to face low oxygen levels, hazardous winds, unpredictable avalanches, and terrain landmarks that are difficult to navigate.

Zeng also acknowledged in a post that it was a strenuous climb, as they "live on the sea level and train at 0 to 163 meters" but had to endure "extreme coldness and drought" on the 8,000m high altitude climb up K2.

"Trust me, it was really nothing less than savage," she wrote in a separate post.

Image from Vincere Zeng on Facebook.

Image from Vincere Zeng on Facebook.

During their climb, there were also rescue efforts made to save Pakistani porter, Muhammad Hassan, who slipped off a narrow trail just before K2's peak and died several hours later, according to South China Morning Post.

Additionally, The Straits Times reported that adverse conditions such as snowfall, wind and fog delayed climbers from reaching the summit.

Zeng and Sim had to join a queue of about 200 mountaineers, waiting at an almost vertical incline for hours before they could make the final push to the top.

However, they eventually made it.

Image from Vincere Zeng on Facebook.

The younger Zeng reached the summit first, and wrote that she "almost bursted into tears (sic)" when she heard Sim calling her name when making the descent.

"I knew she would reach the top in no time," Zeng added in the same post.

She hoped their achievement would "do the little dot proud" in time for Singapore's upcoming 58th birthday on August 9, about two weeks later.

Conquering the world's highest summits

Sim, who has been an endurance athlete for 20 years, trains by running in ultra-marathons, and achieved her goal of summitting Mount Everest in May 2019.

Zeng describes herself as a "mountaineer, ultra runner, paraglider, and high altitude speed ascent (climber)" on her Facebook profile.

She conquered Mount Everest earlier in May this year, just 70 days before also reaching K2's summit.

Zeng and Sim are also the first two Singaporean women to conquer the world's two highest peaks, Everest and K2.

In doing so, they follow in the footsteps of veteran mountaineer, Khoo Swee Chiow, the first Singaporean man to conquer the world's three highest peaks, Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga.

Top image from Vincere Zeng on Facebook.