K2: Bad Weather Settles In

With the departure of the main group of climbers today, K2 Base Camp has become a lonely, haunted place. Only John Snorri’s crew remains for a few more days on the windswept glacier. It’s a sad end to an endeavor that saw such joy and triumph just three weeks ago.

Bad weather has enveloped the Karakorum, scuttling the final searches. The helicopters have aborted their flights, and even Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali — the cousin and nephew of Ali Sadpara — have finally retreated to Base Camp, fighting high winds along the way.

The search helicopter later returned to Skardu with Elia Sailkaly on board. The Canadian photographer and film producer had come to film John Snorri’s attempt to climb K2, but while he has plenty of footage, any film that results will be very different from what he had expected.

Elia Saikaly flew back to Skardu today. Photo: Elia Saikaly


Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister of Tourism, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, notes that while no further flights are on tap in the near future because of the weather, the search is not over: “Anytime we get a weather window, [it] will resume,” he wrote. “But it’s also important to accept that the chances of their survival are evaporating.”