K2: Helicopters Search Abruzzi Route, Sajid Sadpara Down to Camp 1

K2 Winter 8000ers
Rescue chopper searching K2's slopes today. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

Despite difficult conditions, helicopters from Pakistan’s Army Aviation have completed a search flight up to 7,000m along the Abruzzi Spur route. However, they have not spotted the missing climbers. But there is some good news: Sajid Sadpara has arrived at Camp 1.

Sajid will now descend to Advanced Base Camp where Chhang Dawa has sent Sherpas Temba Bhote and Phurbu Kusang to help. They will prepare food and hot water for Sajid and get ready to help him down if required. Dawa must also take care of his own team members. The condition of a number of Sherpas and climbers remains unknown.

Tamara Lunger has finally reached Base Camp. She is in good health but is worried sick by the lack of news from those high above.

Tamara Lunger near K2 Base Camp. Photo: Tamara Lunger

Meanwhile, families and friends in Iceland (where the Foreign Affairs Minister is involved), Pakistan (where Ali’s friends are coordinating operations from Lahore), and Chile are working hard. They maintain hope that John Snorri, JP Mohr, and Ali Sadpara, as well as Sajid Sadpara, might yet make it off K2.

The best bet is to locate the climbers through their satellite phone signal, which can be tracked even when the device is off. Arrangements have been made to obtain the necessary permits with Pakistan’s Military Authorities. These permissions are required for telecommunications company Thuraya Pakistan to disclose the information and results are expected at any moment.

ExWeb’s expert Jacek Teler is analyzing the sparse information available in an effort to understand what might have happened to the missing climbers. They departed from Camp 3 at close to midnight and according to Sajid, they were at 8,150m at 10 am on February 5. Therefore, they took two or two-and-a-half hours longer than the successful Nepali summit team to reach that spot.

“Only from Sajid can we learn whether each member used O2 and, if they did, how many canisters they had, how fast they dealt with the Bottleneck, and whether they had a return deadline,” Teler said. “At their estimated pace, they would probably have reached the summit in the dark.”

“Additionally, the great serac protects climbers from the wind, which hits them full-force after they finish traversing underneath,” Teler noted. Yesterday, the wind was supposed to progressively intensify in the afternoon and temperatures dropped lower than during the Nepali summit push.

Weather conditions are deteriorating on K2 today. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

“As I conclude, there are two options: If they turned back because of the wind (at around 2 or 3 pm yesterday) they should have returned to Camp 3 before midnight. But, if nothing prevented them from reaching the summit (low wind, enough oxygen, enough light etc), then they should descend to Camp 3 this morning. If they made it, their fate depends ONLY on themselves. Neither helicopters nor climbers on foot can help above Camp 3. Increasing winds are making the situation extremely dangerous.”

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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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Craig
Craig
9 months ago

Rip guys

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K2 Summit Photographer
K2 Summit Photographer
9 months ago
Reply to  Craig

R.I.P

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Uttam
Uttam
9 months ago

Stupid and heartless people! Why prematurely write their obituary (R.I.P.) when we are still waiting with bated breath to hear about the trio from an unassailable source. I pray they make it safely back down, with or without the glory of summiting K2.

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UMK
UMK
9 months ago

Thanks for the update. I really hope they are safe. Though every passing minute i am really getting concerned. Hope they get down safely. I am really very worried now 🙁 and feel sad but still hoping!

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belphi
Kris
9 months ago

Seems they summited. From Pakistan news:
https://arynews.tv/en/muhammad-ali-sadpara-climbs-k2-winter-expedition/

Let’s hope they will make it back safely

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Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

Who cares, the point is to come down alive

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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
9 months ago
Reply to  Kris

That is fake news, probably based on one of the impostor Twitter accounts. The official account says there has been no word since they parted from Sajid.

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Chaitanya
Chaitanya
9 months ago
Reply to  Lenore Jones

Just searched youtube and in last 24 hrs there are hundreds of videos claiming Ali had summitted K2. Its quite confusing situation hopefully they are ok and on the way back but grounded due to bad weather.

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txl
txl
9 months ago

If the helicopters searched the route to “almost 7000m”, and Camp 3 is on 7300m, then there is still some hope that they could be at Camp 3.

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Nabil Huda
Nabil Huda
9 months ago

Although a difficult time to bring this up, but important to set one record straight, Four Pakistani Climbers Two from Team of Elia Saikaly (thr to document Sadpara Ascent) and two More Addtl Pakistani climbers (airdropped by Pak Army Aviation) are working to do some rescue. I reproduce the Asghar ALi Pork Statement as below (from his FB Account); I Asghar Ali Porik Jasmine Tours official organizers of Iceland K2 Winter Expedition John Snorri Sigurjónsson regrets to inform that after many hours pass we don’t have any confirm sighting of John Snorii, Muhammad Ali Sadpara. Sajid Sadpara after sleeping in… Read more »

Explore Nagar Travels
9 months ago

prayers to all of them for their safe return. They all are champs of the mountaineering community.

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Twinkletoes
Twinkletoes
9 months ago

I thought Temba Bhote and Phurbu Kusang were at camp1… that’s a long, lonely descent for Sajid. Well maybe someone else is still on the way as Mr. Porik says

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Samson Simon Sharaf
9 months ago

Here is another view with my knowledge of terrain.
The shoulder is a very steep and rugged climb like a chimney. Strong winds in varying directions hit the bottleneck which is next.
Then comes the saddle, a thin ridge with ice that leads to the icefall with seracs and blocks. Depending which direction wind blows, icefall could offer some protection.
It is possible they never made it through the bottleneck and saddle.
Last GPS readings are below 8000m.
Just another view.
Still praying and hoping.

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ipgon
ipgon
9 months ago

There is still Hope, lets ALL remember the story of Wilco van Rooijen, who survived 2 nights in the death zone on the same K2 in the 2008 tragedy.

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ippo
ippo
9 months ago
Reply to  ipgon

That was summer. This is Winter.

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Jonwhay
Jonwhay
9 months ago

It’s time to stop this perversion of mountain climbimg that is costing lives, exploiting poor Nepalese and trashing great natural wonders with excrement, trash and old ropes for the sake of national and personal egos.

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Bill Bones
9 months ago

I knew winter 2021 K2 was a disaster in the making, too many at one time on this mountain has never ended well, there’s still hope but with each passing hour it grows fainter

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John
8 months ago
Reply to  Bill Bones

nice content

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