Sad End on Spantik: One Body Identified, Search Called Off

Both Japanese climbers who went missing on Spantik last week have been declared dead.

The Japanese embassy confirmed that the body rescuers found on June 15 belonged to Ryuseki Hiraoka, 55.

Searchers were unable to find the second climber, 36-year-old Atsushi Taguchi. They finally called off the search yesterday, Kyodo News reported. Rescuers say Taguchi might have been buried in an avalanche.

Aerial image of a section of Spantik, a snow ramp with a figure lying on the snow.

Frame of the video by helicopter searchers showing the body of a Japanese climber on Spantik.


Hiraoka was a well-known Japanese mountain guide with five Everest summits, several other 8,000’ers, and many peaks in the Andes and the Pamirs. Taguchi was also an experienced mountaineer who had worked in several mountain refuges in Japan.

The climbers had disappeared after leaving Camp 2 at 5,300m for their summit push on 7,027m Spantik. A second climbing party, which reached Camp 2 the following day, called the alarm after finding no trace of Hiraoka and Taguchi.

A helicopter spotted one of the climbers, who turned out to be Hiraoka, lying motionless in the snow three days later. Conditions prevented the pilots from landing at that time, but a ground rescue team later retrieved the body.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.