Expedition co-leader Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner on ascent, making her way through ice towers common to K2. (National Geographic/Ralf Dujmovits )

On Tuesday, Kaltenbrunner finally did it.

She and her team reached the top of the Earth’s second-tallest and most difficult to climb mountain at at 6:18 p.m. local time, National Geographic reported.


Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner on the steep step before the rock shoulder of K2. (National Geographic/Ralf Dujmovits)

“I can’t believe how lucky we were to reach the summit together in this fantastic weather, despite the difficult conditions during the ascent,” Kaltenbrunner said. “I would like to thank everyone for their ‘mental support,’ which I could clearly feel and which literally carried me to the summit.”

Before this expedition, only 24 people had made it to the top of all 14 tallest mountains.

Kaltenbrunner and her team began their ascent after leaving northern base camp in Xinjiang, China, on June 17. K2, located on the Pakistan-China border, is 28,251 feet and believed to be the hardest of the peaks to climb. Many people have died trying.

Last year, Kaltenbrunner lost team member Fredrick Ericsson while trying to climb K2.

Kaltenbrunner began climbing mountains during her childhood in Austria. She later saved up money she earned as a nurse before becoming a full-time alpinist in 2003.