Three climbers on K2 still missing

K2 summit zone
K2 summit zone (seen from the helicopter)

The great concerns about the Icelander John Snorri Sigurjonsson, the Pakistani Muhammad Ali Sadpara and the Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr continue. Again today, rescue helicopters of the Pakistani army flew twice to the 8,611-meter-high K2 in the Karakoram to search for the missing climbers on the flanks of the mountain: again no trace of the trio. They had last seen by Muhammad’s son Sajid Ali Sadpara on Friday midday local time at the so-called “Bottleneck”, a key point of the route at around 8,200 meters. Since then, there has been no sign of life from the three climbers.

Rescue flight up to 7,800 meters

K2 mountain flank
View into the mountain flank

Sajid had turned back because of a defective oxygen regulator. He assumed that his father and the two other climbers would reach the summit and then descend to him at Camp 3 at 7,300 meters. But they did not arrive there. Sajid finally descended to base camp on Saturday.

He was on board for today’s second rescue flight, as was Chhang Dawa Sherpa. According to the expedition leader of the commercial Nepalese operator Seven Summit Treks, the helicopter flew up to an altitude of 7,800 meters – near the limit in which the helicopter can still fly due to low air pressure: “We went through the Abruzzi and other routes, we had less weather visibility above Camp 4, unfortunately, no trace at all.” The wind is expected to blow even stronger on Monday.

With each passing hour, realistically speaking, the chance of finding John Snorri, Muhammad Ali and Juan Pablo alive decreases. A rescue operation above 8,000 meters is illusory in the current prevailing conditions on K2 and would also endanger the lives of the rescuers. The only hope left is for a miracle.