K2: Missing winter climbers found, first summit successes

The 8,611-meter-high K2, the second highest mountain on earth – on the left the West Ridge

The first summit successes of the summer season are reported from K2. Among those who reached today – with bottled oxygen – the highest point at 8,611 meters was also the only 19 years old Pakistani climber Shehroze Kashif. Last May, Kashif had also scaled Mount Everest, and in 2017 he summited Broad Peak – since then he has been called “Broad Boy” in his homeland.

All those who reached the summit of K2 today had also passed the bodies of Muhammad Ali Sadpara, John Snorri Sigurjonsson and Juan Pablo Mohr. The Sherpas of a commercial team that fixed the ropes had discovered yesterday the bodies of the three climbers who had been missing since their winter summit attempt in early February and were later declared dead.

Death at the “Bottleneck”

John Snorri Sigurjonsson, Juan Pablo Mohr, Muhammad Ali Sadpara (from left)

According to the search team led by Sajid Ali Sadpara, Muhammad Ali’s son, the bodies were lying directly at and below the so-called “Bottleneck”, the avalanche-prone key section of the route at around 8,200 meters. What exactly happened to them, whether they died in the ascent or descent, remains open for the time being.

Ali’s, Mohr’s and Sigurjonsson’s families would like – if it is possible – to have the bodies of the deceased brought down from the mountain so they can be buried at home. “They are at 8,000 meters and helicopters cannot reach that altitude. Only with human strength it is possible to bring them down further,” Federico Scheuch, a cousin of Juan Pablo Mohr, wrote on Instagram. “We must assume that the priority of most teams is to reach the summit and not to perform the rescue.”

Samina Baig abandons summit attempt and expedition

Samina Baig (r.) at K2 Base Camp

On Monday – as reported – the Scottish top climber Rick Allen had died in an avalanche on K2. Samina Baig referred to this accident, among others, when she announced the end of her attempt to become the first woman from Pakistan to reach the summit of the second highest mountain on earth. “Assessing the danger and unclarity on the mountain above, I was mentally very disturbed as on the one hand I had the summit as my dream, on the other hand, was the safety of my life and my team,” the 30-year-old wrote on Facebook. “Hence I made the most difficult decision to call off the summit push and expedition.”

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