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Jan 182021
 

Tragic news from the team attempting Broad Peak this winter. The body of Alex Goldfarb has been found on the nearby trekking peak, Pastore Peak.

Zoltán Szlankó and Alex Goldfarb planned an ambitious winter climb of Broad Peak. It wouldn’t the first summit, but it’s rare and mostly unsuccessful to summit this 8000er just a few miles away from K2.  The press release goes through the details but the precise reson for his assumed “fall” is unknown and probably will never be known. My condolences to his family, friends and teammates.

This is the official announcement:

We are deeply saddened to let you know that we have lost our climbing partner and friend, Alex Goldfarb. The helicopter search mission has found his body on Pastore Peak, where he is presumed to have fallen off the mountain. Further details might come at a later time.

Russian-American Alex Goldfarb set out to make a winter attempt on 8051 m Broad Peak with Hungarian Zoltan Szlanko. This was a 2-men, non-sponsored expedition and the pair was planning to climb in the cleanest style, without any high altitude porters and supplemental oxygen. After having arrived in Pakistan and having sorted out all necessary procedures they started their 5-day trek to Broad Peak base camp which they reached on 8th January. 

A couple of days later, Alex and Zoltan then made a short reconnaissance of the route to their planned acclimatization peak, 6209 metre Pastore, which has not been climbed in winter before. 

A few days later they set out to give it a go. After breaking trail and navigating through heavily crevassed terrain, even falling in once, the experienced climbing instructor and mountain rescuer Zoltan deemed the conditions too dangerous and insisted that both of them should return, but he could not persuade Alex who decided to continue. 

In his last radio communication with base camp, Alex reported from high camp his intention to go for the summit and told to return by evening of Saturday, 16th January. But as he didn’t appear by the agreed time, and no radio or phone contact was successful, a search operation was initiated. Sunday morning a ground team went to search the route, but found no trace of him. Besides Zoltan himself, the Icelandic climber, John Snorri Sigurjonsson who is on nearby K2, was helping with the search. A drone search was also conducted but without any success.

The family of Alex has initiated a helicopter search, with the help of Global Rescue and Askari Aviation, organized by the expedition’s logistics operator, Jasmine Tours. A crowdfunding page was set up to cover the costs of the operation:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/alex-goldfarb-helicopter-rescue

The pair of Askari Aviation choppers have started from Skardu at 9:00 AM local time, 18th January. After picking up John Snorri Sigurjonsson and Sajid Sadpara, as well as the army liaison officer at K2 base camp, they made three flights to Pastore Peak.

During the second flight they have spotted the tracks of a tent somewhere on the mountain, the place not specified. The whole area around was full of crevasses, as well as the upper slopes. They 

have made photos of the site. The pilot has gone up for a third flight to make a more detailed check on the area of the presumed campsite.

During this flight, unfortunately they discovered the lifeless body of Alex Goldfarb, who is presumed to have fallen off the mountain. At this moment there are no more details available for us about the circumstances. 

We are deeply saddened by the news. Alex’s climbing partner, Zoltan is obviously devastated and shaken by the events. We are grateful to John Snorri Sigurjonsson, Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Sajid Sadpara, Asghar Ali Porik and everybody that has contributed to the search mission.

For the moment there will be no more updates. A detailed account may be published at a later time. We kindly ask representatives of the international media to be patient and respect the family’s request for privacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alex’s family and friends pastedGraphic.png

Alex’s son, Levi Goldfarb has written a heartfelt obituary about his father, our friend, Alex:

“Alex is a man who never gives up. He moved to America just after the crumble of the Soviet regime to begin working illegally in a plastic factory and selling his plasma for cash. In just over a decade, he earned 2 PhD’s and was a Professor of Medicine at Harvard. He went on to have a stunning academic career, publishing over 70 peer-reviewed publications and several books, the most recent of which was the first Critical Care Medicine book to include a chapter on COVID.

His bounding energy drew everyone close to him, and our house was the place to be on any given Friday night as guests—invited and spontaneous alike—crowded around the Shabbat table and enjoyed hot food and wine. Alex was always the star of the show: when he wasn’t sharing the latest jokes, he regaled us with tales of epic ascents, like the time he spent the night in a hastily-made igloo on his descent from Lenin Peak (7134 m) or when he saved the life of a man while ice climbing to the peak of Khan Tengri (7010 m). He always made time for interesting hobbies—most recently beekeeping—and kept in touch with friends from around the world.

Alex taught me to always strive to be better; he was constantly reading, researching, writing, and adventuring. No achievement was ever enough—he enjoyed the thrill of the chase. He taught me that a person’s true character shows in difficult circumstances: when the COVID pandemic first broke out, most people—myself included—preferred to stay home and keep themselves safe. Alex sought out the epicenter of the pandemic on the Eastern Seaboard—Elmhurst hospital—and drove there immediately to treat patients in need. He taught me to stand up for what I believe is right, and to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.

 

If asked what his greatest achievement was, Alex would no doubt mention his family. We knew that he would do anything for us—we never had to worry, because he would shoulder any burden for those he loved. He was a great man, and I am proud to be his son. I hope I can one day be a fraction of the man he was. Baruch Dayan Emet.”

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Alex Goldfarb 1963 – 2021

This press release is free for editorial use, with the condition of referral to the contact below. 

With media inquiries and interview requests please contact:

László Pintér
press officer of the Broad Peak Winter Expedition 2021
lpinter@eusp.hu
+36 70 548 7378

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

  4 Responses to “Another Death in the Karakorum”

  1.  

    Why did my comment not get published?! I was wondering why would a two person group split if the undoubtedly more experienced climber thought the conditions are too dangerous, as these are pretty much all the details released so far? Each loss of life in the mountains is a tragedy, but also lesson to learn for those that remain.

  2.  

    Rest In Peace

    It’s strange that I became aware of Dr. Alex Goldfarb as a physician and academic during this pandemic. I didn’t know he was a mountaineer.

    Sorry this happened to him, his partner and everyone who worked on the rescue

  3.  

    My respect to John Snorri for helping with the search. I hope this has not jeopardisid his K2 attempt

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