Winter Pakistan: A Frostbitten Kazuya Hiraide Airlifted to Hospital

Something has gone wrong for Japanese climber Kazuya Hiraide on the summit push up 6,977m Karun Koh. Hiraide suffered frostbite above 6,200m that was severe enough to require emergency evacuation, according to ISPR (Pakistan’s Armed Forces media and PR).

Details are still sketchy, but it seems that the climber was taken to the Combined Military Hospital in Gilgit. Photos show Hiraide stepping out of the helicopter by himself.

Kazuya Hiraide in a recent interview. Photo: Sakiko Kishimoto


The three-time Piolet d’Or winter was attempting the first ascent of Karun Koh’s North Face with partner Takuya Mitoro. They had also planned another first ascent, of an unnamed 6,020m peak nearby.

The climbers had reconnoitered this second peak, but it is unknown if they had actually climbed it before heading for Karun Koh. News earlier this week placed Hiraide and Mitoro in base camp, waiting out bad weather.

Hiraide had planned this winter’s climbs as preparation for a major challenge in the summer of 2022: K2’s West Ridge.