Just hours before the all-Nepalese team history with the first-ever winter ascent of K2, Catalan mountaineer Sergi Mingote died after an accident on the mountain. Mingote, age 49, was co-leader of the Seven Summit Treks team, an expedition of nearly 50 climbers also bidding for the winter ascent of the prized peak.
While descending from Camp 1 to Advanced Basecamp, the 49-year-old took a big fall into the rock and ice below. “We where informed by unexpected movement on his GPS tracker and could see he made a big fall, members at the site quickly confirmed the accident,” wrote Chhang Dawa Sherpa, a member of the Nepalese expedition. Mingote was reportedly still alive when team members reached him, but his injuries were too severe and he soon perished. The day before his fall he climbed to Camp 3, above 7,000-meters, for an acclimatization rotation. He was attempting the ascent without supplemental oxygen.
Nirmal “Nims” Purja, a member of the Nepalese expedition who summitted without supplemental oxygen, wrote on Instagram: “We feel grateful to be a part of history for humankind but equally very deeply saddened to hear that we have lost a friend Sergi Mingote, a member of another team. We extend our profound sympathies to Sergi’s family, colleagues, and friends. Rest in peace my brother!”
Mingote had previously climbed seven 8,000-meter peaks without supplemental oxygen, including a previous ascent of K2 during a solo expedition. This attempt of K2 would have been part of his 14X1000 Catalonia Project—a goal he set to climb all fourteen 8,000-meter peaks in a continuous 1,000 day push without oxygen.
Beyond his mountaineering career, Mingote was also a remarkable endurance athlete. He was a finisher of both Ironman and Ultraman triathlons (112-mile and 320-mile races, respectively), he crossed both the Sarah and Gobi deserts, and he swam the Straits of Gibraltar alongside Paralympian Miguel Luque. In 2020, Mingote completed a 7,000-kilometer cycling trip across Europe and summited 20 major peaks along the way.
Mingote held a Master’s degree in International Cooperation and Management, was the ambassador for “Pirineus Barcelona 2030” Winter Olympic candidacy, and president of the Onat Foundation, an organization dedicated to social inclusion through sports. He also served as mayor of the Catalan town Parets del Vallès from 2011 to 2018, but resigned to focus on mountaineering full time.