Three Mountaineers Missing in K2 Winter Attempt

Dominic Gawel | ClimbingClimbing

At 28,251′, K2 is the second-highest peak in the world. The peak is notorious for its stature, death rate, short season, and difficulty to climb. The “savage mountain” claims the lives of 1 in 4 climbers who attempt it making it the 3rd deadliest mountain in the world. Until January 16, 2021, the peak had never been climbed in the winter.

Despite the inherent risk involved in high altitude mountaineering, some brave mountaineers take on the challenge.  A team of 3 mountaineers was last known to be about 300 meters from the summit in the “Bottleneck Couloir” on Friday around noon. The group consisted of 45-year-old Muhammad Ali Sadpara from Pakistan, 47-year-old John Snorri from Iceland, and 33-year-old Juan Pablo Mohr from Chile. The team was attempting the peak for the second time since beginning their expedition in December.

The climbers were last known to be in the Bottleneck Couloir on K2. Credit: National Geographic

Search and Rescue operations have continued to search for the missing mountaineers. Pakistani Military helicopters have continued an ariel search for the mountaineers. Ground search teams have included international winter expedition experts and Pakistani mountaineering experts.

Family members, officials, and experts have expressed little to no hope of finding them alive after being at 8,000 meters for days. Muhammad Ali Sadpara’s son, Sajid Ali Sadpara, said, “Now the search operation should continue to recover the bodies.” Sajid was originally part of the expedition but turned around after his oxygen began leaking.

Mountaineers Muhammad Ali Sadpara, John Snorri, and Sajid Sadpara. Photo: Sajid Ali Sadpara

It has been a successful and deadly winter on K2. A team of 10 Nepali climbers summited K2 for the first time in the winter. Atanas Skatov, a 42-year-old Bulgarian alpinist, was spotted from a Pakistani helicopter on Friday. He fell to his death at around 7,400 meters. In January, a Harvard professor lost his life acclimatizing on a nearby peak, and a Spanish climber fell to his death while descending K2.

A Pakistani helicopter searching for the missing mountaineers. Photo: Dawn

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