K2 is the last of the world’s fourteen 8,000-meter peaks to remain unclaimed in winter, and that’s a big deal. It’s such a big deal that we devoted an entire feature to it in AJ11, our winter issue, which is only available in print (and can be purchased here). This winter, there are two teams taking aim at this last great prize, one led by Russian Vassily Pivtsov and the other with Basque climber Alex Txikon taking the sharp end. Both teams have arrived in base camp and are reporting that they’re sharing resources at least through Camp I. Txikon posted that it’s about as cold as you’d expect. “In the dining room tent we were at 13 degrees below zero, in the tent at minus 26 degrees, and inside the igloo we slept at -5 degrees,” he wrote on Facebook. “I have to say that it was the best night of my 8 winter expeditions. As you walk from the dining room to the igloo your hands and all your muscles freeze, and the wind blows in your face. However, when entering the igloos we have built in the Base Camp, silence is not heard, and the howl of the wind disappears.”

Photo via Alex Txikon