“Pakistan has lost a great mountaineer, my father and two other climbers are no more with us.” Sajid Ali Sadpara said today at a press conference in Skardu in northern Pakistan what had actually been in the air for days, but no one wanted to announce publicly. But as difficult as it is to admit it, 13 days without any sign of life and without any trace of the three climbers missing on K2 can only mean one thing: Pakistani Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson and Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr paid for their summit attempt on the second highest mountain on earth with their lives.
Infrared and satellite images analyzed
The families of the three climbers expressly thanked all those involved in the search operation, especially the Pakistani army. The army had repeatedly sent rescue helicopters up to the limit of altitude at which helicopters can still fly. In addition, the mountain had been searched by fighter jets with infrared cameras. Iceland and Chile had provided satellite images. But all efforts were in vain: no trace of Muhammad, John Snorri and Juan Pablo. Only the remains of a tent, a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag were discovered on the slopes, but they could not be assigned to the three missing persons.
Accident on the descent?
So what exactly happened to the three climbers and where will remain a mystery – unless their bodies are found one day after all. “Based on the last known contact by John Snorri’s telephone, we are confident that all three men made it to the top of K2 and something happened on the descent,” Sigurjonsson’s family said. “Ali, John and Juan Pablo will live forever in our hearts.”
In addition to the three missing, two other renowned climbers lost their lives: Spaniard Sergi Mingote and Bulgarian Atanas Skatov, both of whom fell during their descent of K2. Five dead, five grieving families – a sad balance of the winter season on the second highest mountain on earth. Despite the successful first winter ascent of K2 by ten Nepalese climbers on 16 January.