One of the great British climbers is no longer with us. The 68-year-old Scotsman Rick Allen died yesterday in an avalanche on K2. Rick was reportedly planning to open a new route up the world’s second highest mountain with Austrian Stephan Keck and Spaniard Jordi Tosas – in alpine style, i.e. without bottled oxygen, high altitude porters and prepared high camps.
Where exactly the route was to go up is unclear; some reports say on the southeast side of K2, while others speak of the avalanche-prone East Face, which has never been climbed. Keck and Tosas escaped the avalanche. The Spaniard remained at K2 Base Camp, the Austrian was flown out to the town of Skardu. According to reports from Pakistan, Allen’s body was found near the Advanced Base Camp.
In 2018, Rick had already come very close to death near to K2. After a solo summit attempt on the neighboring eight-thousander Broad Peak, Allan had found himself in trouble at an altitude of above 7,000 meters. He had been rescued then after being spotted by a drone and his exact position determined.
Coup on Nanga Parbat
In 2012, Allen had caused a sensation with his British compatriot Sandy Allan. At that time, the two were the first to reach the summit of Nanga Parbat via the Mazeno Ridge, which is around ten kilometers long. At the time, Allan and Allen had spent 18 days at very high altitude. For their coup, they had been honored in 2013 with the Piolet d’Or, the “Oscar of climbers”.
Meanwhile, the search by rescue helicopters on the Chinese side of Broad Peak for the South Korean climber Kim Hong-bin, who fell to this death at the beginning of last week, has so far been in vain.