The search mission for missing mountaineers Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Juan Pablo Mohr or John Snorri Sigurjonsson disclosed on Sunday that the leads — taken after scrutinising satellite images, using SAR technology and checking testimonials and timings — turned out to be a sleeping bag, torn tents or sleeping pads, none of which belong to these climbers.
The three men were last seen nine days ago on Feb 5 near the Bottleneck area of K2. Bad weather in the area over the past week thwarted attempts for an on-ground and aerial search for the mountaineers.
The statement, issued on late Sunday night by British-American climber Vanessa O’Brien, who serves as Pakistan’s Goodwill Ambassador and had been coordinating — via a virtual base camp — the search and rescue efforts for the missing climber, added that a press conference will be held as soon as Monday, Feb 15, “especially as it relates to Ali Sadpara.”
The press release added that the K2 virtual and base camp had also been winded down.
“Today is Valentine’s Day in many parts of the world, so remember to be kind to one other and let those who are important to you know how much they are appreciated. These three strong and courageous mountaineers have 13 children, John Snorri SigurjOnsson (6), Ali Sadpara (4), and Juan Pablo Mohr (3), and I know they all felt loved by their families. Please give these families time, space and compassion,” the press statement added.
“It has been nine long days. If climbing the world’s second tallest mountain in winter is hard, finding those missing is even more of a challenge. We have scrutinised satellite images, used SAR technology, scanned hundreds of pictures, plotted more points, re-read summit plans, and checked testimonials and timings. We engaged specialists who offered their expertise, and with devoted support from Pakistani, Icelandic and Chilean authorities, an unprecedented search in the history of mountaineering has been ongoing,” the press release said.
The statement thanked the Pakistan army for sending an F-16 for photographic survey of the area as well as all the “generous and supportive individuals who joined us from within our networks.”
“A special thank you to Imtiaz [Sadpara] and Akbar [Sadpara], and all those engaged in the search,” the press release added.
Meanwhile, Alpine Club of Pakistan secretary Karrar Haideri told Dawn.com that the weather conditions at K2 base camp was extremely cold and windy.
“The conditions are difficult but the search mission will continue using a team of high-altitude porters (HAPs) who are acclimatised,” he added.
Earlier on Feb 11, the ISPR said that a special forward looking infrared (FLIR) mission by a C-130 aircraft along with four high-altitude porters (HAPs) from Sadpara village will be used in the operation. The sensors in FLIR cameras detect infrared radiation and convert it into an image.
Raja Nasir Ali Kahn, the local tourism minister who has had the search on his desk, said on Twitter that John Snorri had two devices that provide location information with him on the mountain and a laptop in addition. He left his laptop and other positioning device in the base camp at K2.
The other positioning device had stopped sending signals on February 5 at 7:13 [pm] local time and was then at an altitude of 7,843 meters.
Sajid was with him at the time, but no signals have been received from the device since.
Source: VISIR – Iceland
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 – Never used in Winter ascents
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.
The climbers approaching the Bottleneck start from a shoulder, on almost level ground just below 8000 m, where typically the highest camp is located. The bottom end of the couloir drops to the south face of the mountain, and it gradually steepens to 60 degrees just below the ice field.
It is not possible to climb up the icefield, which rises straight up tens of metres, but one has to traverse leftwards at the bottom of the icefield 100 m (330 ft) until it is possible to pass the icefield.
It is possible to bypass the Bottleneck by rock-climbing the cliffs on the left.