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Scottish Climber Rick Allen, 68, Dies on K2

The top climber was caught in an avalanche while trying a new route with two other climbers

Photo by: Mirza Ali

Veteran Scottish climber Rick Allen, 68, has died on K2 after being caught in an avalanche. The mountain recently received a lot of fresh snow in a multi-day storm. Aberdeen-born Allen was attempting a new route on the southeast face with Austrian Stephan Keck and Jordi Tosas from Spain.

Russian climbing reporter Anna Piunova wrote on Facebook, “Legendary English (Scottish) climber Rick Allen died while trying to climb a new route along the southeastern face of K2.”

There aren’t many details, but Allen’s partners Keck and Tosas are safely back down, with Keck being flown to a hospital in Skardu. The death has not been officially confirmed, but a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The British High Commission in Islamabad is aware of reports that a British citizen has died climbing K2 and stands ready to assist.”

Allen had been at the K2 base camp for the past few weeks. He and Jerry Gore recently acclimatized on the regular route on Broad Peak, Gore said on July 3, “Rick and I have normal high altitude side effects: headaches, nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite. It is a challenge juggling the altitude with insulin injections. You need to inject more because you are doing loads of exercise and eating loads of carbs for fuel.”

Gore and Allen had planned on climbing K2 together to raise money for the Partners Relief And Development charity. It’s unclear as to why Gore was not on K2 with Allen, as planned.

On the fundraising page shared by the international aid charity, the description read: “Two of Britain’s most experienced mountaineers, Rick Allen and Jerry Gore, are attempting the ascent of K2, the second highest peak in the world and the most challenging. Each is using the attempt to draw attention to the needs of a charity with which they are closely associated. Rick is a trustee of Partners UK which is currently focused on meeting the acute health and educational needs of refugee children displaced from their homes in Myanmar by recent political upheavals. Jerry lives with Type 1 diabetes and, through Action4Diabetes, facilitates the distribution of insulin to children with diabetes across SE Asia. If the pair are successful, Jerry will be the first British and the first French mountaineer with type 1 diabetes to reach the summit of K2.”

Allen had established and repeated many hard Himalayan routes in pure alpine style. In 2012, he and Sandy Allan made the first complete ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Mazeno Ridge over 18 days, a route for which they received a Piolet d’Or. In 2018, he was rescued after getting lost in poor visibility on Broad Peak.

This news comes one week after top Himalayan climber Kim Hong-Bin died on Broad Peak. Dozens of other climbers, including Canadian Ian Welsted, are currently making their way up K2. Our condolences to Allen’s family and friends.


Lead photo: Mirza Ali