Alex Goldfarb Found Dead on Pastori Peak

Everyone’s worst fears have sadly been confirmed for Russian-American Alex Goldfarb, who went missing on Saturday on Pastori Peak, near Broad Peak and K2. The helicopter searchers have found his body where he presumably fell off the mountain, expedition spokesperson Laszlo Pinter has just reported.

Goldfarb and Hungarian Zoltan Szlanko planned to acclimatize on 6,209 m Pastori Peak before launching a fast, alpine-style ascent of Broad Peak, with no high-altitude porters, supplementary O2, or previously fixed ropes. Pastori had never been climbed in winter before.

Soon after starting the climb, the heavily crevassed terrain proved too hazardous for climbing instructor and mountain rescuer Szlanko, who turned around. Goldfarb chose to continue alone. In his last radio contact with BC, he stated that he planned to summit and then return by Saturday evening. But he failed to show up in BC, and after radio and satphone contact proved useless, a search and rescue operation began.

Helicopters departed Skardu today and picked up John Snorri and Sajid Sadpara, who had quickly volunteered to help, from K2 Base Camp. High winds aborted an initial flight, but on a subsequent pass after the winds had calmed, the pilots spotted rags of a tent. On a third and final flight, they saw Goldfarb’s body. Since his body was visible, he likely fell off the mountain rather than into a crevasse, as had been feared.

In these times where every action first appears on social media, Snorri quietly volunteered for the rescue, and according to journalists close to Szlanko, Snorri has now made room for the surviving climber, Zoltan Szlanko, in his own tent at K2 Base Camp.

Photo: @ralfdujmovits

Goldfarb’s son Levi set up a crowdfunding site to help cover the cost of the helicopter and now has written a moving tribute to his father:

“Alex is a man who never gives up. He moved to America just after the fall of the Soviet regime and began working illegally in a plastic factory and selling his plasma for cash. In just over a decade, he earned two PhDs and became a Professor of Medicine at Harvard.

He went on to have a stunning academic career, publishing over 70 peer-reviewed publications and several books. The most recent was the first Critical Care Medicine book to include a chapter on COVID.

His boundless energy drew everyone close to him, and our house was the place to be on Friday night as guests — invited and spontaneous alike — crowded around the Shabbat table and enjoyed hot food and wine. Alex was always the star of the show: When he wasn’t sharing the latest jokes, he regaled us with tales of epic ascents, like the time he spent the night in a hastily made igloo on his descent from Lenin Peak (7,134 m) or when he saved the life of a man while ice climbing on Khan Tengri (7,010 m). He always made time for interesting hobbies — most recently beekeeping — and kept in touch with friends around the world.

Alex taught me to always strive to be better. He was constantly reading, researching, writing, and adventuring. No achievement was ever enough — he enjoyed the thrill of the chase. He taught me that a person’s true character shows in difficult circumstances.

When the COVID pandemic first broke out, most people, myself included, preferred to stay home and keep safe, Alex sought out the epicenter of the pandemic on the Eastern Seaboard — Elmhurst hospital — and drove there immediately to treat patients in need. He taught me to stand up for what I believe is right and to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

If asked what his greatest achievement was, Alex would no doubt mention his family. We knew that he would do anything for us. We never had to worry because he would shoulder any burden for those he loved. He was a great man, and I am proud to be his son. I hope I can one day be a fraction of the man he was.”

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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Eman Khadra Ansari
Eman Khadra Ansari
9 months ago

I’m so sorry for your loss, Levi. Holding you and your family in our thoughts and prayers.

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mike
mike
9 months ago

sad. condolences to the family…

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Sherri Monroe
Sherri Monroe
9 months ago

Sorry for his loss, he was a good man

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Niki
9 months ago

I am one of th many who had the honor to know Alex and I am blessed to call him friend. He loss reaches far and wide for he inspired us all. I was looking forward to the next coffee table book filled with his adventures and hear as he told about this experience. My heart is broken at humanity’s loss. Losing Benjamin Golfarb and now Alex, my heart is in serious turmoil. My family sends love to each of you boys and to the rest of the family, here in the midwest, on the east coast and beyond. From… Read more »

Dr. M Ikram Farid Langrial
Dr. M Ikram Farid Langrial
9 months ago

May his sole rest in peace. Amen

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Alex Rapoport
Alex Rapoport
9 months ago

Our heart is broken…

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Irene Tsirozidou
Irene Tsirozidou
9 months ago

I loved working with Alex. He always demonstrated the highest regard for his patients and co-workers. He will indeed be missed by many.

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Simon Manning
Simon Manning
9 months ago

So hard to lose a father. Alex achieved many peaks real, scientific, and as a Dad. My thoughts are with you.

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Lisa Poole
Lisa Poole
9 months ago

Sorry for your loss. He was a kind man who was always eager to share his medical knowledge. No doubt adventure ran deep in his soul.

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Maureen Bencale
Maureen Bencale
9 months ago

So sorry worked many places with your dad will miss his great smile and deep discussions
Rest In Peace my friend

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Yvonne Heelen
Yvonne Heelen
9 months ago

I am so sad . Dr. Goldfarb was always so nice and always willing to help us in our hospitals . I Spoke to him before he left and he was so exited for his trip . My condolences to his family.
We will have him in our hearts forever.

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Joe Fonte
Joe Fonte
9 months ago

I am very sorry to hear this terrible news. It was always a pleasure to discuss complicated cases with Alex. He was a talented and dedicated physician. His loss will be felt throughout the Holy Family community.

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Chris karampatsos
Chris karampatsos
9 months ago

My heart goes out to his family. He was a great doctor to work with

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Karen Mello
Karen Mello
9 months ago

I send heartfelt sorrow for Alex’s family
I knew and worked with him as a physician in the care of COVID and other ICU Patients
his dedication to his work, patient care, his contagious laugh and good humor will always remain as fond memories

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alex leviatov
alex leviatov
9 months ago

Sincere condolences for the loss of Sasha.He was a talented student and the best graduate student in my practice.He was and remains in my heart a close friend, communication with whom has always been pleasing both in personal meetings and at a distance I grieve infinitely…

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zeacliff
zeacliff
9 months ago

I am so very sorry, I knew Dr. Goldfarb for many years and it was always a pleasure and good fortune to be able to work with him
Sending my condolences and prayers to his family!

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ronald
ronald
9 months ago

My condolences, he was a really good man i understand from the words of his son. “He taught me to stand up for what I believe is right and to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves”. So true and tells a lot about the man. RIP

+1
Karakorum Expeditions
9 months ago

Death is ultimate and one day we all fall prey to it, however we don’t understand, what was the purpose on climbing other mountain when the goal was Broad peak ? condolences with family

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Amit
Amit
9 months ago

He was a great man. I remember our time together at BIDMC and Union H. fondly. May his soul journey in peace. Blessings to the family.

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Lucienne Sanchez
9 months ago

Sending love and prayers to the Goldfarb family from Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼

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Asghar Ali Porik
9 months ago

Me and my family thought and prayers for Alexander Goldfarb a very polite man easy to deal with. This was my first meeting with him as a organizer of Broad Peak Winter Expeditions in Pakistan. I found him helpful, motivating and love for mountain. People’s hide their Jewish identity while visiting Pakistan. But I saw him a very loving person for the faith he believes. God bless his soul Ameen

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Martha Robinson
Martha Robinson
9 months ago

So sorry for your loss. Your father was a wonderful man. I worked with him at Anna Jaques.

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Martha Robinson
Martha Robinson
9 months ago

So sorry for your loss, your father was a wonderful man. I worked with him at Anna Jaques

+1
pamela wilson
pamela wilson
9 months ago

I worked 3rd shift with your dad at Union. He was always smiling, and such a gentleman. So sorry for your loss.

+1
Emily Dulude
Emily Dulude
8 months ago

Alex has worked with us for many years helping us out moonlighting as a nephrologist on the weekends. I loved our conversations when I would meet him at various hospitals when he was covering the ICUs. On one occasion I will never forget, I asked Alex why he takes such risks climbing such dangerous mountains and he told me that “most people never have the chance to know if they’re brave or not.” He counted himself lucky that he had so many opportunities to test whether or not he was brave. In my book Alex, I’d say you most definitely… Read more »

Meg Shelton
Meg Shelton
8 months ago

It was an honor to work with MD Goldfarb. Rest In Peace.

+1
Susan E Ormont
Susan E Ormont
8 months ago

I am devastated by the loss of dear friend Alex. He was an extraordinary man, so interesting with an amazing zest for life. Alex was my real estate client and bought his Brookline home with me. Then we were fast friends and my respect for him was enormous. I send my deepest condolences to Levi, Ben and Alex’s Mom.

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Charlene
Charlene
8 months ago

I am so sorry for your loss. I had the honor of knowing Alex and working with him at NSMC Union Hospital. He was an exceptional physician. And he treated all us nurses with utmost respect. It was such a privilege to work with him.

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