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Top Climbers Missing on K2, Rescue Could Launch at Sunrise

In one of the most historic Himalayan seasons on record, climbers are hoping for a happpy ending to the past 24 hours

In our ongoing coverage of the K2 winter season, we’re updating you with the news that three top climbers are still missing near the summit of K2 and that the Pakistan Army could launch a rescue within hours.

Earlier today, we reported that at least three climbers hoping to summit K2 today are yet to return to high camp. It’s currently after midnight at K2 with extremely cold temps. We also reported that Bulgarian climber and Himalayan veteran Atanas Skatov has 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. We then reported that John Snorri, the first Icelander to climb K2 was missing on K2 here.

With Snorri is Ali Sadpara and Juan Pablo Mohr. Sajid Sadpara, Ali’s son, was part of the summit team, but turned around due to equipment failure. They haven’t been heard from in nearly 24 hours. As dawn on Feb. 6 lights up K2, many will be watching K2’s high zones for signs of the three missing climbers.

On Feb. 5, news broke that Ali had reached the summit. It was shared by countless media outlets. However, the news is not true and countless climbers and family members await word.

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.

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The most recent summit push included a number of climbers, most of which turned around. Rumours are circulating that some teams occupied the current summit seekers’ tents at camp three, which reduced the missing climbers’ sleeping time. Again, this news is breaking and not verified.

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. His last known location was at camp three until today at 6:30 EST when he’s tracker showed him back at basecamp. More on K2 this winter here.

We will update this story as more information is available.