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Search and Rescue on K2 for Missing Climbing

Three climbers from Pakistan, Chile and Iceland haven't been heard from for over 36 hours after leaving for their K2 winter summit push

A search and rescue mission has been launched for three top climbers who are still missing near the summit of K2. The three missing climbers are Muhammad Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile and John Snorri from Iceland. Muhammad’s son, Sajid, was part of the summit team, but turned around due to equipment failure. He is now safely back at base camp. The climbers left camp three at midnight and reached 8,150 metres at 10 a.m Friday morning.

A Pakistan Army helicopter flew to 7,000 metres on the Abruzzi Route but saw no signs of the climbers. In 2013, an injured Canadian climber was longlined by a helicopter from 7,300 metres off Everest.

Pakistani climbers Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali are currently making their way up K2 as part of an on-foot search and rescue. The strong climbers have assisted in Himalayan rescue missions in the past. They will spend the night at camp one.

There is hope that the three missing climbers descended to camp four or are even back in camp three. The sun has set and the climbers will be spending a second night at high elevation. A helicopter will head back up tomorrow if the weater allows.

Canadian Elia Saikaly is on K2 as a filmmaker documenting Snorri’s ascent. Saikaly traveled to K2 at the last minute for the expedition. Last November, he summited Ama Dablam as a member of Garrett Madison’s team. Saikaly had recently filmed Snorri and the Sadparas in K2 basecamp before their push. He is safely back in base camp. There were at least 23 other climbers who’ve descended back to base camp from the recent summit push, including Italian climber Tamara Lunger.

Yesterday, we reported that Bulgarian climber and Himalayan veteran Atanas Skatov died from a fall while descending from camp three. Skatov is reported to have likely fallen when transitioning from one rope to another, with early reports of a rope breaking being dismissed when it was noted that the fixed ropes high on K2 are new. Sergi Mingote from Spain died last month from a fall on K2. More on K2 this winter here.

On Jan. 16, 10 Nepalese mountaineers reached the summit of K2 for the first winter ascent. Those climbers who will go down in history for reaching the summit, are Nirmal Purja, Gelje Sherpa, Mingma David Sherpa, Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, Sona Sherpa, Mingma Tenzi Sherpa, Pem Chhiri Sherpa, Dawa Temba Sherpa, Kili Pemba Sherpa and Dawa Tenjing Sherpa.