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Drama on K2 Winter

The search operation on K2 remains confusing, to say the least. According to Dawa Sherpa and sources in Pakistan, Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali — relatives of Ali Sadpara — have refused to retreat to Base Camp and they remain on the mountain, despite the bad weather. At the moment, it is unclear whether they are still in Camp 1 or have moved further up, as some sources suggested.

The experienced pair flew to K2 by helicopter two days ago and climbed immediately to Camp 1, with plans to hurry up K2 in time to locate the three missing climbers.

They have oxygen with them but they are not acclimatized, so it is unlikely that even in the best weather, they could reach anywhere near the altitude where Ali Sadpara and his two companions disappeared.

Nor is it likely that a ground search would find anything when helicopters drew a blank despite three days of searching. Though well-intentioned, if they do indeed decide to proceed upward, they risk worsening the tragedy by undertaking a highly dangerous mission where the chances of helping are now, alas, virtually nil.

To make things worse, the Seven Summit Treks team is heading home tomorrow.

Jasmine Tours and John Snorri’s home team have arranged for Snorri’s kitchen crew to remain at the foot of the mountain for a few more days, to support and communicate with Imtiaz and Akbar. But if they run into trouble, there will be no potential rescuers in place.

Meanwhile, rescue coordinator Vanessa O’Brien has confirmed that they are gathering information from the missing climbers’ satellite phones and that they will share an official release soon.

Hopefully, this will offer some reliable information amid the mess of rumors, contradictory versions, fake news, and baseless comments which can only add more pain to the already bitter end of this K2 winter expedition.

Source: Angela Benavides – EXPLORERSWEB

Header: Unlike Everest, K2 offers climbers almost no flat sections. Here, expedition members traverse the edge of K2’s North Ridge. Photograph by Ralf Dujmovits


K2 it’s so deadly because of the combination of elements. It is about 237m [780 feet] lower than Everest, but the topography is much tougher. Climbing Everest you have stretches that are steep, then it flattens off. Very little of K2 ever flattens off. There’s a shoulder at about 7,200m [23,760 feet] when it flattens off briefly but that’s about the only respite. It’s also avalanche and rock fall-prone. It’s within the death zone, defined as above 8,000m [above 26,000 feet]. The weather is terrible and unpredictable. There have been several years in which nobody managed to climb K2 because the weather was so bad.

Now Sadpara, 45, is missing along with two other climbers, John Snorri, 47, of Iceland, and Juan Pablo Mohr, 33, of Chile, on K2 the world’s second highest mountain.

The three were last seen three days ago by Sadpara’s son Sajid at about noon on Friday, at what is considered the most difficult part of the climb: the Bottleneck, a steep and narrow gully just 300 metres shy of the 8,611 metres when Sajid was forced to turn back because of a malfunctioning oxygen mask.

The spot is just above the ceiling of helicopters that have been searching for the men for three days now. “Muhammad Ali Sadpara is a national hero and an asset for the country,” Pakistani military spokesman Babar Iftikhar said on Monday. “The Pakistan army is putting in full efforts to rescue him.”

Source: The Guardian