‘Traces’ Found of Two Japanese Climbers Missing on Spantik

Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi of Japan have been missing on Pakistan’s 7,027m Spantik since Monday. Today, a search helicopter spotted “traces” of them at 5,500m between Camp 2 and Camp 3.

“We have identified the possible location of the climbers,” local official Waliullah Falahi told HUM News English. “However, we can’t confirm exactly if they are there. The climbers’ health status remains uncertain.”

The climbers launched a summit push from Camp 2 without porters or ropes on Monday. The following day, a second Japanese team of seven climbers arrived at Camp 2 and noticed that Hiraoka and Taguchi had not returned and were nowhere to be found, Dawn reports. This second team aborted their own climb and returned to Base Camp, where they alerted authorities.

Climbers by a small group of tents on a snowy col on Spantik

Camp 2 on Spantik. Photo: David Hamilton/Jagged Globe


Climbers searched the area yesterday but found no trace of the missing pair. Tomorrow, a ground team will search the place where the helicopter spotted signs of them. There is no further detail on what these signs were.

A popular peak

Map with location of Spantik, K2, Gasherrum I and Nanga Parbat

Location of Spantik, compared to other peaks in Pakistan. Google maps


Ryuseki Hiraoka is an experienced mountain guide, and Atsushi Taguchi has previously summited K2, Manaslu, and others.

Spantik, located in Gilgit-Baltistan, is considered the most straightforward 7,000’er in Pakistan. It is a relatively popular climb, sometimes as a final goal and sometimes as acclimatization before tackling Pakistan’s 8,000’ers. Camp 2 is at 5,600-5,700m. Check all the details of the climb on the video below by David Hamilton of Jagged Globe Expeditions.

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.