Pakistan Declares Trio of Missing K2 Climbers Dead
Officials and families Thursday pronounced dead three climbers nearly two weeks after the men disappeared during their ascent of Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-highest peak at 8,611 meters.
Iceland’s John Snorri, Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr, and their Pakistani partner, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, had lost contact with base camp on February 5 during their attempt to conquer what is known as the “Savage Mountain.”Our press release this morning ❤https://t.co/O4wdasluHrpic.twitter.com/cgd6FDHjQ6— John Snorri (@john_snorri) February 18, 2021
An unprecedented search-and-rescue mission was immediately undertaken, involving Pakistani military aircraft and high-altitude climbers, in coordination with Icelandic and Chilean authorities. The effort to trace the missing climbers failed.
Raja Nasir Ali Khan, minister for tourism in Pakistan’s scenic Gilgit-Baltistan, where K2 is located, told reporters that experts concluded that a human being cannot survive for that long in such harsh weather.
“That’s why we are announcing that they are no more,” Khan said, adding that the search for bodies would continue.
A representative for Snorri and Mohr at the news conference read a statement on behalf of their families, saying all the three men were “strong mountaineers” and determined to make history by standing on top of K2 this winter.
“My family have lost a kind father and the Pakistani nation has lost a great, brave and experienced mountaineer,” said Sajid Ali Sadpara, son of the deceased Pakistani mountaineer.
The latest deaths bring to five the number of climbers killed during K2 winter expedition this year.
FILE – Porters set up tents at the Concordia camping site in front of K2 summit in the Karakoram range of Pakistan’s northern Gilgit region, Aug. 14, 2019.Bulgarian alpinist Atanas Skatov died earlier this month on K2. A renowned Spanish climber, Sergi Mingote, fell to his death last month while descending the mountain.
“Very sad moment. We lost our friends, 5 strong climbers, during K2 winter expedition 2021, especially Muhammad Ali Sadpara our national hero,” said Karrar Haidri, a spokesman for the private Alpine Club of Pakistan, which promotes mountaineering in the country.
Last month, a 10-member team of Nepali climbers made history when they became the first to conquer K2 in winter. Nirmal “Nims” Purja, Dawa Tenji Sherpa (team MG), Mingma G, Dawa Temba Sherpa and Pem Chiri Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Nimsdai Purja and Gelje Sherpa are seen before the winter attack on K2, Pakistan, Jan. 5, 2021.
The peak, located in the Karakoram range along the Chinese border, was the last of the world’s 14 tallest mountains higher than 8,000 meters to be climbed in winter.
K2 is about 200 meters shorter than Nepal’s Mount Everest, which is the world’s tallest peak and part of the Himalayan range.
International climbers, however, describe K2 as “technically hardest” and challenging because summit winds reach hurricane force and still-air temperatures are well below -65 degrees Celsius (-85 Fahrenheit).
Since 1954, up to 86 climbers have died in their attempt to scale K2.
While more than 6,500 people have climbed Everest, only 337 have conquered K2 to date.