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.

Angela Benavides is a journalist specialised on high-altitude mountaineer and expedition news working with

Angela Benavides 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 national and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporates, press manager and communication executive, radio reporter and anchorwoman, etc. Experience in Education: Researcher at Spain’s National University for Distance Learning on the European Commission-funded ECO Learning Project; experience in teaching ELE (Spanish as a Second Language) and transcultural training for expats living in Spain.

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6 months ago

Hope he is doing better? Any updates on his condition? Where is his partner?