K2: Search Called Off

K2 Winter 8000ers
Imtiaz and Akbar, the rescuers from Ali Sadpara's extended family, are still on the mountain. Photo: Elia Saikaly

For the third day in a row, and despite tough conditions, Pakistani army pilots have searched K2’s slopes for any trace of missing climbers John Snorri, Ali Sadpara and Juan Pablo Mohr. Again, the search has been in vain. This time, the helicopters brought Lakpa Dendi Sherpa and Seven Summit Treks expedition leader Chhang Dawa Sherpa on their scouting flight. The search party reached about 7,000m and focused on several areas that Dawa pointed out. “We had less visibility and the upper mountain is covered in cloud,” Dawa wrote.

Pakistani Army Pilots have searched K2’s slopes for a third day. Photo: Chhang Dawa Sherpa

Currently, the helicopters are not expected to fly again, at least until weather conditions improve. Unfortunately, weather forecasts indicate that it could be some time before there is better visibility. Sources in Pakistan have said that Base camp may be dismantled tomorrow.

Still, in the morning today, two men refused to throw in the towel. Imtiaz and Akbar, neighbors and relatives of Ali Sadpara, were determined to continue up the mountain on foot. “Ali is a brother to us and a hero for Pakistan,” Imtiaz told Elia Saikaly. The two men, both experienced K2 climbers, had volunteered for the mission. They were willing to continue the search “for pride of blood and country,” as one commenter put it on social media. “They know the mountain better than anyone and tell us they’ll respect the mountain, the weather, and their limits,” Elia said.

Sadly, their attempt was indeed thwarted by the weather. For their own safety, they had no choice but to abort. K2 has already taken too many lives.

The rescue has gripped the public and the media in Pakistan, where Ali, Sajid and the rescuers are being hailed as national heroes. As with the Nepalis who achieved the first winter summit some weeks ago, the Sadparas have been catapulted into the national spotlight. As well as an outpouring of national pride, events have prompted criticism of many others that are involved. Some of this criticism has shocked those organizing the rescue efforts.

“Don’t use Ali to [jump on] the bandwagon and gain some notoriety,” Ali Sadpara’s spokesperson pleaded on Twitter. “This rescue operation has been planned and conducted by family, friends (those westerners some people are trashing) and the Pakistan army. ”

Indeed, the rescue efforts have been coordinated by the missing climbers’ families and friends, but have also involved Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan Ambassador of Goodwill Vanessa O’Brien, Chhang Dawa Sherpa in Base Camp, Alex Gavan (at home after abandoning the expedition), and high-ranking political and military authorities in Pakistan. The rescue operation team was even in touch with Simone Moro, currently climbing winter Manaslu.

A final statement by all those involved is expected later today.

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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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Nemo
Nemo
10 months ago

Makes the heart heavy. The savage mountain remains as foreboding as ever. Heart goes out to the families and friends of these bold men who chased their ambitions.
Thanks go to the rescuers for risking it all in the search.

Rest well gentlemen.

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Abbas
Abbas
10 months ago

So sad.. we knew this would be the outcome once it was 30+ hours since they were last seen alive.. this is K2, this is in winters, this is near the summit, this is beyond C4, above bottleneck.. this is not a joke..

Rip All you 3.. I pray your last moments were easy for you .. they’re not easy for us..

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QBF
QBF
10 months ago

My thoughts and prayers to those lost and to their families.

Question: Are there any drones available in the area that can fly above 8,000 meters? They would be helpful to locate the missing without having to place anyone in harms way.

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Abbas
Abbas
10 months ago
Reply to  QBF

Not sure if drones can reach that high specially if they are market drones and not military equipment.. plus the weather up there with the strong winds would just blow it away.. There’s never a rescue coming near the summit.. everyone who summits knows that.. the best chance is if they descended to a lower camp.. which didn’t happen.. conditions were clear only due a couple of days, their schedule to summit was very aggressive, short on time and prep.. before the bad weather settled in.. that itself is causing the search to fail.. even if it was good weather,… Read more »

WLLP
WLLP
10 months ago
Reply to  QBF

Indeed, during the Andrzej Bargiel K2 sky descent in 2018, the cameraman of the crew did make use of a drone, which was modified to be able to ascend to high altitudes. You can find videos of the descent, where they briefly explain how dey did it, and how they even used it to bring medications to high camps (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoTDf0W911E). Nonetheless, on that occasion, the weather was good with little wind and much higher temperatures. Totally different from the current brutal conditions. Really sad news to see 3 men who represented so well the spirit of alpinism, gone forever. RIP… Read more »

Don Paul
Don Paul
10 months ago
Reply to  QBF

I think there is too much wind. It’s often 50-70 km/hr and the weather turned bad recently.

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Pablo C
Pablo C
10 months ago

The King of the Mountains has taken the highest price for be conquered in winter. God bless these brave hearts. Rest in Peace.

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Sean
Sean
10 months ago

Please do not climb this mountain if you have children or people who care about you! You don’t need this. You’re no hero if you manage to conquer K2, you’re just an idiot who got lucky. My heart goes out to the families of these foolish men.

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Tina L allington
Tina L allington
10 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I feel bad for all the kids that lost a parent to this mountain.They are the ones who pay the ultimate price. Total selfishness on the parents part.

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JoAnna
JoAnna
9 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I’m afraid my friend that you probably haven’t yet realised that not every climber is out to climb for the purpose of conquering a difficult mountain, K2 for that matter.
RIP to the departed ..

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John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Sean

The realest comment. Climbing K2 is a pure gamble.

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Annonymous
Annonymous
10 months ago

Such a dangerous trip…but could there have been some foul play? The son was the last one to see them alive and we only have his word as to what happened. He doesn’t seem that sad in the interviews. It seems strange that no remains have been located.

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Elisa
Elisa
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

Oh what the hell… you missed an opportunity to remain silent and show some empathy for a traumatised son who‘s just lost his father in the most terrible of ways.

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Tadeo
Tadeo
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

he looks in shock.. you sir have a rather twisted mind

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Nat
Nat
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

You need a hug mate?!

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Ashley
Ashley
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

People show/process grief in so many different ways. Not “appearing” sad to your standards of what sad looks like doesn’t mean that a person isn’t sad.

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Bollywood Star
Bollywood Star
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

You’ve been watching too much Hollywood.

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Abbas
Abbas
10 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

No wonder you want to stay annonymous after making such a heartless comment – Sajid was broken and close to tears in his interview – i understand the language and i can hear where his words were shaking during delivery ..

There is no motive for him to do that, just the way you don’t have any to make such a statement. Blah!

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Matt
Matt
9 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

Its not at all uncommon for no remains to be found. Countless climbers bodies are missing on mountains all over the planet that are a fraction of the size of k2 and much more accessible. All climbers know this is a possibility.

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Jomo
Jomo
9 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

I think the op has a valid point. I thought about that too. Anything is possible at this point. Remember alpine climbers have big egos and very strong headed.. they have been many stories of arguments high up on mountain. You remember the 2008 K2 disaster? Wilco Van Rooijen the team lead stated other members simply refused to listen to his instructions 🤷‍♂️

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Rob
Rob
9 months ago
Reply to  Annonymous

Anonyme est votre pseudo
Ça veut tout dire…

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Martin
Martin
10 months ago

Well u didn’t mention anything about the bulgarian men which lost his life!

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Lenore Jones
Lenore Jones
10 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Skatov has been mentioned in detail in several previous reports. Look back and you will see.

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stay @ home mountaineer
stay @ home mountaineer
10 months ago

May these brave souls find peace. Their power of will is subject of awe.

Pakistani and Nepali climbers are earning their well deserved place in community.

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K2 mountaineers fan
10 months ago

Salute to these brave hearts.
Ali Sadpara once said, ‘if I ever get stuck in the mountains, I will take shelter in the ice but I will never imagine to give up.

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Nirupa Rao
Nirupa Rao
9 months ago

Hopes are still on.. If they are good mountaineers and knows the K2 well then cannot leave hope..let weather be normal and we may get some good news..

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Tadeo
Tadeo
9 months ago

any news from the brave rescuers? hope they are ok..

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Geno kowalczyk
Geno kowalczyk
9 months ago

Is it possible they ended up on the Chinese side of k2 anyone know if that was checked by the helicopters

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Skid on Corrib
Skid on Corrib
9 months ago
Reply to  Geno kowalczyk

So terribly sad for all those connected to lost climbers over the past few days.They
are victims of their loved ones addiction to the lure of mountaineering and probably were incapable of stopping them from climbing on. Do hope they can be found for closure but if not they are in the embrace of their chosen place rest in peace.

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