K2 or Mount Godwin-Austen, peak, 28,251 ft (8,611 m) high, in the Karakorum range, N Kashmir, on the China-Pakistan border; second highest peak in the world. It was discovered and measured by the Survey of India in 1856, and first named for English topographer Henry Godwin-Austen, who explored and surveyed the region. "K2" is taken from the first letter of Karakorum, and the number indicates that it was the second peak in the range to be measured. Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli, members of an Italian team led by Ardito Desio, reached the summit in 1954.
See E. Viesturs and D. Roberts, K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain (2009).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on K2 from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asia Physical Geography