Veteran mountaineer Pemba Sherpa, who scaled Mt. Everest eight times, has gone missing while returning from a successful summit of Saser Kangri IV (24,330-feet) in the eastern Karakoram range in Jammu and Kashmir, reports the Hindustan Times.
The 45-year-old who has climbed six of world’s highest 10 peaks fell into a crevasse on Friday evening while descending from Camp 2 and there has been no trace of him, triggering fear among mountaineers that the chances of finding him alive may be very thin.
“A team comprising members of Indo-Tibetan Border Police, personnel from the Nubra police station and fellow Sherpas searched for him unsuccessfully throughout Saturday. Search operations were resumed at 4 am on Sunday with no success reported till afternoon,” said Asim Kumar Mondal, secretary of Mountaineers’ Association of Krishnanagar (MAK).
Pemba was part of a 22-member team comprising mountaineers from West Bengal and Pune. The team included two of his brothers, Tashi and Pashang. Pemba was one of the three persons who climbed the peak on Friday, along MAK member Biswanath Saha and Anil, a mountaineer from Pune.
“The accident happened while returning from Camp 2 to Camp 1. Pemba was the last person in the queue. Others moving ahead of him heard him falling but found no trace of him,” Mondal said. “He was barely 1,000-feet from the boulder zone that starts after the risky crevasse zone.”
Though Pemba is a Sherpa (an ethnic community reputed as mountaineering guide-cum-assistant) himself, he was on the expedition as a member of MAK. Pemba Chhiring, a Sherpa from Leh, was also part of the team.
On social media, members of Bengal’s mountaineering community expressed anxiety over the developments as the chances of finding someone alive 48 hours after falling in a crevasse is considered negligible.