Winter K2 Update: Summit Push Update #6

View from Traditional Camp 4 on K2

Latest as of 10:30 am, February 6, 2021.

First it’s reported that Sajid Ali Sadpara is descending from Camp 3. That Pemba Sherpa, who was with Noel Hanna, stayed at Camp 1 and will help him down. Also that a Pakistani military helicopter will take Sherpas high on K2, exact height unknown, to launch a search party for the missing three.

It’s unclear how high the helicopters can go with winds gusting over 30 mph at 20,000-feet. I understand that 7,000-meters is about their ceiling so that would be between C2 and 3 on the Black Pyramid.  I don’t expect more information for several hours and perhaps not until late Saturday or even Sunday K2 time.


Upfront, there is no 100% confirmed news about: John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto. JP was climbing without supplemental oxygen. There is no conformation if they summited, their current status or plans. I’ll update when I have 100% confident news.

They left Camp 3 for their summit push almost 35 hours earlier. They were last seen over 20 hours ago. It’s 3 am Saturday morning, February 6, 2021. The first rays of dawn will hit the shoulder in about three hours. Note that none of the GPS trackers seem to be working anymore. I assume their batteries have run out, perhaps also for their headlamps and even radios. Computer generated weather forecast have the summit temps at -42F/-41C with a wind chill at -80F/-62C.

Sajid Ali Sadpara, Muhammad Ali Sadpara’s son, was with the three climbers and reached the Bottleneck when he had a problem with his oxygen regulator and had to return to Camp 3. He has been there waiting for the others for almost a day. He did a short search but with no O’s and not acclimatized without it, it was very dangerous. He found no trace or saw headlamps on his sortie.

John’s wife gave this update around midnight K2 time, Friday, February 5, 2021:

At this moment we haven’t heard from the team since Sajid descended from bottleneck where the team was located 10.00 PKT this morning. John and Ali are extremely strong climbers so we are hopeful that they will show up in C3 soon.
And about Muhammad Ali Sadpara‘s son:
I just got in contact with Sajid at C3. He went out to check if there is any trace of them. He hasn’t saw any lights or any movement. He has food, sleeping bag and he is holding tight. We’ll publish the news as soon as he informs us.

Climb On!
Memories are Everything


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27 thoughts on “Winter K2 Update: Summit Push Update #6

  1. I had a bad feeling when I saw the number of comments posted. I feel for their families the anxiety must be excruciating.

    Still hoping for the best outcome.

  2. Anu update please. What going on in base camp. is there a chance for the rescue teams to look for them tomorrow.

  3. I read that pakistani government approval is being sought to track their mobile phone devices, should this approval be done ahead of events at the point of permit issue, in order to speed up and focus the efforts of any rescue that might occur.

    1. Is there any chances for rescue after near 48 hours and bad weather conditions? Is there any previous experience of surviving after 2 days over 8000 at K2?
      Is there any information about did they summit or not?…the last connection was from the Bottle neck

      1. Wilco van Rooijen survived two nights on the mountain, one of which above the bottleneck. But it was in summer and in good weather conditions.

      2. Yes, Jerzy Kukuczka in 1985 on Dhaulagiri in winter 21-23 January, two nights without tent, first at 7800m, another night lower. There is still hope…

  4. thank you for updates, Alan.

    Why would they continue without batteries in GPS tracker and or radios? Why not change for new battery before leaving C3?

    1. how would they change for new batteries at C3? There is nothing there that they didn’t bring with them, if their batteries run out they have to go back to base camp to recharge them..

    2. The InReach uses rechargeable internal lithium-ion so there is no opportunity to swap batteries. Both John and JP had devices.

  5. Sajid Ali Sadpara has just been reported to have descended from ABC and is now back safe at base camp via Chhang Dawa Sherpa ig stories

  6. This is info from Chhang Dawa Sherpa FB Account:

    • Army’s Helicopter made a search flight almost up to 7000m and returned back to Skardu, unfortunately, they can not trace anything. The condition up in the mountain and even at the basecamp is getting poor. We are looking for further progress, but the weather and winds are not permissible.

    • Sajid safely reached Camp I, he will descend to advance basecamp very soon, sent more help for him to advance BC.

  7. Although a difficult time to bring this up, but important to set one record straight, Four Pakistani Climbers Two from Team of Elia Saikaly (thr to document Sadpara Ascent) and two More Addtl Pakistani climbers (airdropped by Pak Army Aviation) are working to do some rescue. I reproduce the Asghar ALi Pork Statement as below (from his FB Account);

    “”I Asghar Ali Porik Jasmine Tours official organizers of Iceland K2 Winter Expedition John Snorri Sigurjónsson regrets to inform that after many hours pass we don’t have any confirm sighting of John Snorii, Muhammad Ali Sadpara.

    Sajid Sadpara after sleeping in camp 3 is now walking back to base camp. Fazal, Jalal and two new Sadpara climbers (Imtiaz & Akbar from Sadpara Home) we sent today and taking food and supplies to help Sajid Sadpara.

    There is no support we have from anyone as quoted in media. Only Sherpa possibly at c2 is waiting for their client who might help Sajid Sadpara too.
    We are thankful to General Ehsan, General Dar, Army Aviation, 5 Squarden who are always come forward in support of Adventure community. We are thankful to Sajjad Shah and Alex Txikon who made calls to help us. Now a miracle can help us to see our beloved friends. We are still hoping for the best. We also request our friends tour operator to please avoid spreading unconfirmed report on media. We stand with family of John Snorii and Ali Sadpara and thinking positive for a miracle””

  8. I’m praying for them all. I remember when Wilco was up there for 2nights on the mountain…there is still hope for John, Ali & JP

  9. Do you know the estimated climbing time from C3 to summit was during this winter attempt? And also estimated time from summit to C3?

    How much time did the 10 sherpas need when they summited a few weeks ago? Did they also habe to stay a night above C3?


    1. In an interview with Rock&Ice, Nirmal Purja Purja Purja said that they left Camp 3 around 2:00 am and summitted at 4:45 pm. That is almost 15 hours going up. They were back around 11:00 pm at Camp 3. So it took them about 6 hours descending. No intermediate camps: more than 20 hours in a single push. Very exposed (because of the cold) and strenuous, even for strong sherpa on O2. Camp 4 was not set up during this winter season. JP Mohr and others from the no O2 group were planning to set up C4 during their attempt. So I guess that he would be carrying a tent. But as things progressed I think they (or rather him, as he was the last-man remaining in the mountain from his group) were left out of days, so they followed a very risky strategy.

      1. Thank you for all the information.

        So at least the John Snorri group had the same timetable. They left after midnight and were at bottleneck at around 10am. From there 4-6h to summit I read. This means they were only max. 0-3h slower than Nirmal Purja Purja Purja. Which isn’t a bad sign imho.

        They only difference is that they are a group of 2-3 and Nirmal Purja Purja Purja was there in a group of 10. Maybe that made a difference above bottleneck. Still it’s strange considered they made good progress until bottleneck.

        Is there a reason why all SST members aborted the climb? I only read from O’Brady who just said he had a bad feeling. But why did SST aborted but Snorri and his group continued?

        1. I think most of SST clients aborted their summit plan after they reached C2/3. So I see no motivation for them to put thier life in unnecessary danger when they already have K2 Winter climb in their profile(Sona Sherpa).
          Besides, there were reports that couple of SST caught with some frostbites too.

        2. Tamara came down due to health issues. Some others, like Gorzkowska had no business being there as she lacks skills and experience.

          1. I don’t understand why some people make comments out of knowledge.
            Magdalena Gorzkowska is very well prepared,tough trainings,has 2 or 3 8000 summits.I met her in Makalu 2019 expedition and I was impressed of her motivational and physical qualities.
            The same with Josette Valoton whom nobody spoke about in this k2 adventure.
            They are both very well prepared,mentally and physically.Brave women whom I never knew till Makalu.
            They both summited Makalu in 2019 and in safe conditions.
            Of course Tamara Lunger is super experienced and more in winter conditions.

  10. Thank you Alan, as always appreciate the news you share on such attempts. Hoping the 3 are safe and nearing C3.

  11. Hi Alan,
    The max service ceiling for Pakistan Army helicopters is around 6000m, so with perfect conditions they could drop someone to camp 1 but nothing higher, and most likely they will not be able to fly higher than ABC.
    They could do flyover maybe up to 7000m but not sure about it

    1. I think helicopter has reached till 7000mtrs with no traces of any climber though Sajid Sadpara also returned from 7200mtrs so it was expected… however they didn’t drop any rescuer there since winds r turning to 90km/hr which will be even suicidal for rescuers.
      Only prayers!

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