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K2’s Winter Harshness Blamed as three Climbers Are Lacking

KARACHI, Pakistan — Some climbers name it “the savage mountain.” K2 stands as the world’s second-tallest summit, after Mount Everest, and a few climbers contemplate it much more perilous. Solely final month did one group develop into the primary to efficiently scale it throughout winter, braving dangerously skinny air and temperatures that may plunge previous minus 70 levels Fahrenheit.

On Monday, rescuers and mountaineers underscored the risks of climbing K2 in winter after the authorities in Pakistan stated that three climbers had been lacking since Friday and that hopes of discovering them alive have been evaporating. The lacking climbers have been Muhammad Ali Sadpara, a 45-year-old from Pakistan; John Snorri, 47, from Iceland; and Juan Pablo Mohr, a 33-year-old Chilean.

The authorities stated that they’d proceed the search on Tuesday after halting operations briefly on Monday due to poor visibility. However officers and a few relations expressed little hope that the three can be discovered alive.

“There isn’t any hope for anybody to outlive at eight,000 meters after three days,” stated Sajid Ali Sadpara, the son of Mr. Sadpara. The youthful Mr. Sadpara had been a part of the expedition however aborted his ascent at an altitude of eight,200 meters after his oxygen pipe began leaking. “Now the search operation ought to proceed to recuperate the our bodies,” he added.

The trio was making its second try and scale the summit since December. The three have been final seen on Friday, round midday, at a slender couloir referred to as Bottleneck, the precipitous climb simply 300 meters from the height of K2.

K2, within the Karakoram vary in northern Pakistan, close to the border with China, is eight,611 meters — that’s greater than 5 miles — above sea stage. For many years, climbers from the world over have regarded scaling K2 from November to the tip of February as one of the vital daunting challenges in mountaineering.

Many who’ve tried have misplaced their lives. In 2008, 11 lives have been misplaced, whereas 13 climbers died over a two-week span in 1986, one of many worst disasters in mountaineering historical past. Mountaineering consultants say climbers face a scarcity of oxygen, snow blindness and frostbite.

This winter has been particularly lethal. Final month, two climbers died after both falling down a crevasse whereas descending or making an attempt to scale close by peaks in preparation for K2.

A 42-year-old Bulgarian alpinist, Atanas Skatov, was discovered lifeless on Friday by a Pakistani Military helicopter on K2 after reportedly falling at about 7,400 meters.

In January, a Spanish climber, Sergi Mingote, fell to his demise whereas descending the mountain. Alex Goldfarb, a Russian-American professor from Harvard College, additionally misplaced his life in the identical month on a close-by mountain throughout an acclimatizing mission.

Nonetheless, climbers proceed their makes an attempt. Final month, a Nepali mountain-climbing crew develop into the primary to succeed in the height of K2 throughout winter.

Credit score…Alpine Membership of Pakistan, through Related Press

On Monday, regardless of harsh climate, Pakistani army helicopters continued an aerial search. Worldwide winter expedition consultants primarily based in Pakistan and a number of other Pakistani mountaineering consultants continued their search mission on the bottom.

Mr. Sadpara, the son of the Pakistani climber, stated the expedition crew had been making an attempt to succeed in the summit of K2 since Dec. 12. They started their second try on Thursday, he stated.

The Pakistani international minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, after talking to his Icelandic counterpart, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, stated the federal government was making each effort, together with persevering with the aerial search, to hint the three lacking mountaineers.

“We’re praying for his or her protected restoration,” Mr. Qureshi stated.

Karrar Haidri, an official on the Alpine Membership of Pakistan, a personal group that promotes mountaineering within the nation, stated that there had been greater than 360 profitable climbs of K2 and 86 deaths since 1954. Causes of deaths included falling throughout descent, avalanche and unhealthy climate, he added.

Mr. Haidri stated that the bottom camp stopped receiving a sign from the three climbers after they reached eight,000 meters and that it was unclear if they’d reached the summit.

“We are able to solely hope for a miracle for his or her survival,” he stated.

Zia ur-Rehman reported from Karachi, Pakistan, and Sameer Yasir from Srinagar, Kashmir.

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