UPDATE 3 (8:20 am Pakistani time):
“Today we were able to make search flights all over 7000m by 2 Army helicopters with the help of the Army Aviation 5 squadron. Pilots, Lakpa Dendi @lakpa8848 , and I went through the areas that we were aware of, to locate missing climbers Ali, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo Mohr in K2. We had less visibility and the upper mountain is covered in clouds. For the last three days, pilots made a great job, out of their limits but we can’t find any clues there. The team is waiting for another permissible weather and search possibility.”
Source: Dawa Sherpa
In an interview with local television in Skardu, Sajid Sadpara summarized what happened the night his father Ali, along with John Snorri and JP Mohr, went missing.
We are learning more about what happened at the Bottleneck directly from Ali’s son, Sajid.
Of note he said he and his father were climbing without supplemental oxygen but had a bottle in their pack for emergencies.
Also when he left the three, they had no radio or sat phone. He felt they summited and had an accident on the descent in the Bottleneck, but he is not sure.
We started for the summit the night of February 5 around 11 pm/12 am.There were four climbers: me and father, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo. The other climbers (Sherpas and Europeans were already descending.
Unfortunately I was out of oxygen when we reached the Bottleneck. Also, I was not feeling well mentally. My father told me to use the supplementary oxygen I was carrying. I was trying to fix the mask regulator, but the oxygen started to leak, so I came back down.
I saw them the last time going up the Bottleneck. I left around 12 pm, and when I reached Camp 3, it was 5 pm. I contacted BC and told them that I have reached Camp 3 and that my father and the team are going for the summit. The summit team had no walkie talkie.
I started preparing water for them as I thought they would be back that night. Also, I left the light on in the camp for them. I didn’t sleep that night, and the next morning I contacted BC again and said that they still haven’t arrived. They told me not to go up again as the weather was not good and I was tired. They advised me to descend and that they would start a search mission soon. Unfortunately, the next day we were still without any contact with the summit team.
I think that they summited, and while they were descending, they had an accident, as the wind was very strong at that time.
Sajid also added that considering that they’ve been at that altitude on K2 in winter for three days, he accepts that their chances of survival are low.
‘Search operation should be continued to trace the bodies, I do not think that they are alive at such an altitude of 8000m, it’s impossible to be alive for 2-3 days at 8000m’
UPDATE 1 (4:30 pm in Pakistan):
“Today, 2 Army helicopters (along with Saijd and I) made a search flight (with an aerial reconnaissance) for an hour up to its maximum limit: 7800m again to locate missing climbers Ali, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo Mohr in K2. The search team went through the Abruzzi and other routes, we had less weather visibility above C 4, unfortunately, no trace at all.”
Source: Dawa Sherpa – SST
The helicopter crew and an accompanying photographer traced the route up to a height of 7,000m.
[7800m – our note]
Despite suffering from frostbite, Greek climber Antonios Sykaris joined the flight to help the pilots identify possible search areas. Sykaris will soon be airlifted from Base Camp to receive treatment for his frostbite.
Although there was no sign of the missing trio during the flight, high-resolution images taken by the photographer will be carefully examined at Base Camp.
- Base Camp: 18,650ft/5650m
- Camp 1: 19,965’/6050m
- Camp 2: 22,110’/6700m
- Camp 3: 23,760’/7200m
- Camp 4: 25,080’/7600m
- Summit: 28,251’/8611m
The route follows an alternating series of rock ribs, snow/ice fields, and some technical rock climbing on two famous features, “House’s Chimney” and the “Black Pyramid.” Above the Black Pyramid, dangerously exposed and difficult to navigate slopes lead to the easily visible “Shoulder”, and thence to the summit.
The Bottleneck is a narrow couloir, which is overhung by seracs from the ice field east of the summit. The couloir is located only 400 m (1,300 ft) below the summit, and climbers have to traverse about 100 m (330 ft) exposed to the seracs to pass it. Due to the height of 8,200 m (26,900 ft), and the steepness of 50 to 60 degrees, this stretch is the most dangerous part of the route. According to AdventureStats, 13 out of the last 14 fatalities on K2 have occurred at or near the Bottleneck.
It is possible to bypass the Bottleneck by rock-climbing the cliffs on the left.[clarification needed] However, due to the technical difficulty of this approach, it has only been done once, by Fritz Wiessner and Pasang Dawa Lama Sherpa on the 1939 American Karakoram expedition.
Pasang Dawa Lama (1912 – September 15, 1982) was a Sherpa Nepalese mountaineer, sirdar. Pasang is considered to be one of the greatest Sherpa mountaineers of the 20th century.
In 1939, Pasang participated in the expedition to K2 lead by Fritz Wiessner. The two men came very close to reaching the summit, until the superstitious Pasang asked not to continue climbing as night had fallen. The pair were unable to return for a second attempt.
In 1954, along with Herbert Tichy and Sepp Jöchler, Pasang made the first ascent of Cho Oyu.
In 1956, Pasang was sirdar for the 1956 Swiss expedition to Everest and Lhotse, that made the first successful ascent of Lhotse, and the second and third ascents of Everest.