The American climber Alex Goldfarb-Rumyantzev has been found dead on the 6,209-meter-high Pastore Peak in the Karakoram. Apparently he fell to his death. This was reported by Laszlo Pinter, the expedition’s spokesman. A Pakistani rescue helicopter had flown several times today to search the mountain for the 57-year-old physician from Boston. Also aboard the helicopter were climbers John Snorri Sigurjonsson and Sajid Ali Sadpara, who want to scale K2 this winter.
First, the crew of the helicopter spotted traces of a tent in the crevasse-strewn terrain. During the third flight, they also found the climber’s lifeless body.
Szlanko turned back, Goldfarb stayed
Alex Goldfarb and his Hungarian teammate Zoltan Szlanko had left for Pastore Peak a few days ago to acclimatize for their winter attempt on the eight-thousander Broad Peak. The six-thousander Pastore Peak is considered a technically rather easy trekking peak in summer, but has never been scaled in winter.
Szlanko had turned back because the crevassed terrain seemed too dangerous. Goldfarb insisted on staying. In his last received radio message, Alex said he had reached the last high camp before the summit push and would return before Saturday evening local time. When he failed to show up, Szlanko sounded the alarm on Sunday. An initial search by drone was unsuccessful.
Corona patients treated
Goldfarb, who held not only a U.S. passport but also Russian and Israeli ones, had been treating mainly COVID-19 patients in Boston in recent months. Besides medicine, his passion belonged to the mountains. Among others, he scaled the 6,962-meter-high Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America, and the seven-thousander Pik Lenin.
In February 2020, Alex reached the summit of the 6,814-meter-high Ama Dablam in Nepal, not far from Mount Everest. Zoltan Slanko had to pass due to health problems on the summit day and turn back from Camp 3.
“Ultimately, you do it for yourself”
“What we do in the mountains – we mostly do for ourselves,” Goldfarb wrote after his winter success on Ama Dablam. “It is a great feeling of direct visible goal, of personal expertise, challenge, tapping into personal experience, feeling of freedom, clear personal identity beyond artificial social layers and bullshit, feeling alive, young and capable. Of course we want to impress girls, of course public interest and attention are exciting. But ultimately, if you don’t realize that climbing mountains is done for yourself – you might be missing on the most important part of it.”