Hong Kong and Islamabad (CNN) — The world’s second highest mountain, K2 in Pakistan, has seen record numbers of climbers this year amid post-pandemic fever.
Some 207 permits have been issued for climbing K2, says Sajjid Hussain, head of tourism in Gilgit Baltistan, the border region of China home to the Karakoram Mountains, a range containing Pakistan’s five peaks at more than 8,000 meters (26,000 feet).
But the temperate weather in July, usually the best time of year to reach the summit, along with the relative ease of travel compared to previous years and a stable political situation in the country, are said to have contributed to the record number of climbs.
Another factor has been pent-up demand which has increased during the pandemic. With some of the world’s highest peaks off-limits or difficult to access due to Covid-related border closures, many mountaineers have spent the past two years saving money and preparing for a return to the mountains.
Although K2 is physically more difficult to climb, it is significantly cheaper than Everest.
Permits to climb the world’s tallest mountain cost $11,000 per person, and would-be climbers must also calculate the costs of travel to and from Nepal, clothing, equipment, food, and hired guides and Sherpas.
Meanwhile, a K2 climbing permit – which often covers the other four “eight thousand” peaks nearby – can be obtained for $7,200 for a group of seven.
The number of permits is not the only record set this year.
K2 was the last mountain Drummond had to climb to set his historic record.