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Feb 062021
 
K2 Plume WInter 2020:21. Courtesy of Noel Hanna

Latest as of 3:00 am, Sunday, February 7, 2021, – K2 Time: John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto remain missing with no trace.

Sajid Ali Sadpara

Sajid Ali Sadpara

First the good news, Sajid Ali Sadpara is back in Base Camp. He is one strong individual. And the not-encouraging news, a helicopter did a cursory search for the missing climbers but didn’t get very high, certainly not in the area they were last seen in the Bottleneck.

Another flight will try on Sunday, but the winds will be similar to Saturday. Pakistani climbers Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali were dropped off at Camp 1 to render aid if possible.

There are a few official updates but are already several hours old by now. First from Snorii’s home team (his wife I believe):

We regret to inform that we have not received any new news from John, Ali, and Pablo after the night. The only news we have is that Sajid Ali is descending safe from camp 3. We are grateful to the Pakistani army that has activated a helicopter rescue team and the Icelandic ministry of foreign affairs for their great cooperation. Thanks for all your support, we keep faith.

Dawa Sherpa, the leader of Seven Summits Treks and responsible for his overall expedition (Snorri’s was separate), gave this update:

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.

Snorri’s logistics operator finally put out a statement:

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

And Waqas Johar,Assistant Commissioner, Shigar, GB.,Tweeted:

The two Pak Army helicopters have returned to skardu after doing search operation at k2 . They have found no clues . Weather condition is not good at k2. Sajjid sadpara is descending from camp 2.


Background

There is no 100% confirmed news if they summited, their current status or plans. The three: John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto, are the only climbers on K2 this Sunday. JP was climbing without supplemental oxygen.

They left Camp 3 for their summit push around 23:00 on Thursday, February 4, 2021. They were last seen over a day ago. Now, It’s 3 am Sunday morning, February 7, 2021. Computer generated weather forecast continue to call for extremely cold have the summit temps at -42F/-41C with a wind chill at -80F/-62C.

The three along with Ali’s 22-year-old son, Sajid Ali Sadpara left Camp 3 around 23:00 Thursday night. They planned on moving fast, hoping to summit around  14:00 on Friday, just before the next wave of high winds were expected to hit the summit. They reached the Bottleneck when Sajid had a problem with his oxygen regulator and had to return to Camp 3. He returned alone, while the three men, presumably, continued higher. This was the last repot of their status, now close to two days ago. Sajid waited at Camp 3 for over 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.

The only K2 summits thus far in the winter of 2020/21 was by the team of nine Sherpas and one Majar on January 16, 2021. Nirmal Purja Magar summited without supplemental oxygen accompanied by his nine teammates. They held hands and stood on the summit together singing the Nepali National anthem.

There have been two deaths on K2 this season, Spanish mountaineer Sergi Mingote who fell between Camp 1 and ABC then Bulgarian climber Atanas Skatov who fell just below Camp 3. Another climber, Russian/American Alex Goldfarb perished while acclimatizing for Broad Peak on nearby Pastori Peak.


Who Are They?

Muhammad Ali Sadpara

Muhammad Ali Sadpara – Pakistan was born in the village, Sadpara, on the outskirts of Skardu is by far one of the strongest climbers at K2 this winter. He has eight summits of 8000ers, including four on Nanga Parbat, the first winter summit of Nanga with Simone Moro and Alex Txikon in 2016. He attempted Everest along with Alex Txikon, in January 2018 but conditions stopped them. They were trying a no Os summit.

  • Gasherbrum II (Pakistan) in 2006,
  • Spantik Peak (Pakistan) in 2006,
  • Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) in 2008,
  • Muztagh Ata (China) in 2008,
  • Nanga Parbat (Pakistan) in 2009,
  • Gasherbrum I (Pakistan) in 2010,
  • Nanga Parbat First Winter Ascent (Pakistan) in 2016,
  • Broad Peak (Pakistan) in 2017,
  • Nanga Parbat First Autumn Ascent (Pakistan) in 2017,
  • Pumori Peak First Winter Ascent (Nepal) in 2017,
  • K2 (Pakistan) in 2018,
  • Lhotse (Nepal) in 2019,
  • Makalu (Nepal) in 2019,
  • Manaslu (Nepal) in 2019.

Ali was recently told that the rest of his 8000-meter attempts would be sponsored by the Pakistan government to which he responded:

I can’t express my feelings after hearing the news of the sponsorship to complete my dream of climbing all 14×8000. I’m so thankful to Khalid Khurshid Khan Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan and Minister of Tourism GB Raja Nasir Ali Khan for making this possible by sponsoring my remaining 6 peaks. Let’s make Pakistan proud. Thanks for believing in me brothers.

Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto – Chile has an impressive list of climbing achievements including these 8000ers, all without supplemental oxygen:

  • Annapurna – 2017
  • Manaslu – 2018
  • Everest – 2019
  • Lhotse – 2019 (6 days after Everest with Ali)
  • Dhaulagiri – 2019 (with Ali)

He discussed with Desnivel in a December 2020 interview about climbing 8000-meter peaks:

I believe that each of these experiences in the mountains makes you stronger. When you are above 6,000 or 7,000 meters, all emotions are stronger than in normal life and that is one of the things that motivates you to return to these mountains. Apart also from the aesthetic and how happy one feels. In my case, I believe that the mountain is the place where I belong and where I feel happiest. That is the energy that I want to come and take to these places so that I can get home transmitting this same energy to my family, my friends and everyone.

John Sorrni

John Sorrni

John Snorri Sigurjonsson – Iceland is a professional mountaineer. This was his third climb on K2 with a summit in 2018 and a winter attempt in 2019. His 8000er achievements include:

  • Lhotse – 2017
  • K2 – 2017
  • Broad Peak – 2017
  • Manaslu – 2019

John’s says on his website:

Born in 1973 and raised in the countryside of Ölfus, Iceland, John Snorri excelled at sports at an early age, and later found his physical and mental passion in mountain climbing. Growing up in Iceland, John Snorri has spent his life exploring the rugged wilderness that surrounds him. It is this strong connection to nature and the drive to conquer his own physical limitations in a measurable way that has fueled his passion for mountain climbing.

For him, the climb isn’t solely to reach the mountain peak but also to exemplify the immense human potential that is often underestimated. Mind over mountain.


High Altitude Bivouacs

Moutnaineering does have a history of astonishing high altitude bivys. The Adventure Jounral has a nice run down. These are some of the highlights:

1. Hermann Buhl, Nanga Parbat, 1953
Hermann Buhl, above, was so fast on the first ascent of 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat that he just decided to leave the rest of his German-Austrian climbing team behind and summit without them. He topped out at 7 p.m., but lost a crampon on the descent, which slowed him, and he eventually had to bivy – standing up, with one handhold – on a rock ledge above 8,000 meters. He had no down jacket and hadn’t used oxygen on the ascent. He walked into camp the next evening, 41 hours after he had left, hallucinating and frostbitten. The Nanga Parbat climb is the only solo first ascent of an 8000-meter peak.

2. Willi Unsoeld, Tom Hornbein, Barry Bishop, and Lute Jerstad, Everest 1963
On the American Everest Expedition in 1963, Willi Unsoeld and Tom Hornbein decided that climbing the South Col route, which at that time had seen less than 10 ascents (including Jim Whittaker and Sherpa Nawang Gombu a few days earlier, the first American ascent of the peak), wasn’t quite adventurous enough. They legendarily headed up the mountain’s West Ridge, a bold route with no retreat option – midway up the route, they realized that up and over the summit would be their only way down. They met American climbers Barry Bishop and Lute Jerstad, who had climbed the South Col route, around 28,000 feet. Disoriented, and Bishop and Jerstad out of oxygen, the men dug in just after midnight and spent the night in what was the highest bivouac at the time. The men survived, but lost some digits to frostbite in the aftermath. The bivouac is chronicled in Hornbein’s book, Everest: The West Ridge.

3. Dave Johnston, Art Davidson, and Ray Genet, Denali, 1967
On February 28, 1967, Dave Johnston, Art Davidson, and Ray Genet, became the first climbers to stand on Denali’s 20,322 summit in winter. On the descent, the men dug a tiny snow cave above 18,000 feet and spent March 1 there in a blizzard. And March 2. As the windchill dropped temperatures as low as -148 Fahrenheit, the men hung on – for six days total. Art Davidson’s account of the climb and descent, Minus 148 Degrees, became a mountaineering classic.

4. Doug Scott and Dougal Haston, Everest, 1975
In 1975, Doug Scott and Dougal Haston put up a new route on the Southwest Face of Mt. Everest, climbing for 14.5 hours and topping out at 6 p.m., then realizing a moonless night was about to set in. They considered their options, and rather than try to descend in the darkness, they located a snow cave they’d dug earlier in the day, enlarged it a bit, and hunkered down – at 28,750 feet, the highest bivy in the history of mountaineering. Despite hallucinations and a lack of oxygen, neither man suffered any frostbite. They made it into camp the next morning at 9 a.m.

5. Doug Scott, Mo Anthoine, Chris Bonington, and Clive Rowland, Baintha Brakk/The Ogre, 1977
Not one specific bivouac, but a series: Scott, Anthoine, Bonington, and Rowland spent a number of nights descending from the Ogre’s 23,900-foot summit, after Scott broke both legs when he slipped rappelling and pendulumed into a gully. He and Bonington bivvied at 23,000 feet without food or a stove. The next morning, Anthoine and Rowland, who had climbed a different route, joined them and helped Scott into a snow cave they’d dug below the summit. They spent two nights there waiting out a storm. The four men then went up to the west summit with Scott slowly jumaring ropes. They dug a snow cave on the other side of the peak and started to descend in the storm, Scott crawling. Then Bonington rappelled off the end of a rope and broke two ribs. On night number six, they got back to their tents and wet sleeping bags, and spent one more night at that camp (still above 21,000 feet) before they were able to descend. When they got to base camp, they found it abandoned – the other climbers figured they were dead. Scott and Bonington waited five days at base camp while Anthoine ran ahead to organize porters to carry Scott out. Then it only took three days for the porters to get Scott to a place where he could be picked up by a helicopter – which crash-landed while dropping him off in Skardu. No one was hurt, but Bonington sat out another week in the mountains before he could get down.

6. Jim Wickwire, K2, 1978
At 5:20 p.m. on September 5, 1978, Lou Reichardt and Jim Wickwire became the first Americans to summit K2, the second-highest mountain in the world. Reichardt started down the descent before Wickwire, who changed the film in his camera and buried a list of the expedition’s supporters in the snow on the summit. Wickwire started down too late, and neglected to bring a flashlight or headlamp. He dug a bivy ledge in the snow 450 feet below the summit and hung on, waking during the night to realize he had slipped down the snow slope within about 30 feet of a 10,000-foot drop. The next morning, 14 hours after parting with Reichardt, he ran into John Roskelley and Rick Ridgeway, who had climbed up in search of Wickwire and/or try for the summit themselves. He convinced them he was okay to descend by himself and made it to rejoin Reichardt at the team’s high camp.

7. Joe Simpson, Siula Grande, 1985
In 1985, Joe Simpson and Simon Yates boldly climbed the first ascent of the West Face of 20,813-foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes, alpine-style. On their descent of the north ridge, Simpson slipped off an ice cliff and shattered his right leg. Yates tied their twin 150-foot ropes together and began lowering Simpson down the ridge 300 feet at a time as a storm rolled in. Eventually, Yates unknowingly lowered Simpson off an overhanging cliff, and Simpson hung on the rope out in space, unable to communicate up to Yates. He tried climbing the rope, but his hands were frostbitten. Yates, slowly slipping from a standing belay stance, eventually used Simpson’s knife to cut the rope, dropping Simpson into a crevasse. Simpson spent a night inside the crevasse as Yates, figuring his partner was dead, descended to their base camp. Simpson, unable to climb up out of the crevasse, downclimbed and found a way out, and spent the next three days crawling and hopping five miles back to camp, reaching Yates just before he was to leave. The story was made famous in Simpson’s book, Touching the Void, and in a movie of the same name.

8. Beck Weathers, Everest, 1996
On May 10, 1996, Texas pathologist Seaborn Beck Weathers took off for the summit for Everest with guide Rob Hall. On his way up, the high altitude and UV radiation took a toll on his eyes, which, post-radial keratotomy surgery, developed lacerations and lost vision. Hall told Weathers to sit and wait while he guided clients to the summit, so he did. Unfortunately, Hall never returned to get Weathers. A storm rolled in. Another guide who was descending added Weathers to his four-person rope team and attempted to guide them down to high camp, but was unable. He left the team and descended to get help. When the guide returned, Weathers and another climber had lapsed into hypothermic comas. They were left for dead 300 yards from camp, Weathers’ hands and face exposed. In the morning, Sherpas found Weathers and the other climber and chipped ice off their faces, finding them to be breathing, but nearly dead. A few hours later, Weathers regained consciousness and stumbled into Camp IV, alive. He wrote about his battle and the aftermath in his book Left For Dead.

Plus another on K2 in 2008 by Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen, and Marco Confortola who spent 2 nights bivy just above the Bottleneck. He is one of only a few people to survive two days above 8000-meters. He suffered third degree frostbite on all his toes and both feet.

Of course most of these were in summer and didn’t last as long as we are currently seeing. But these stories do provide proof of the human will to live and persevere.


Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

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  46 Responses to “Winter K2 Update: Summit Push Update #7”

  1.  

    Ali Sadpara is really a brave, talented, and expert mountaineer. May Allah keep him safe .. aameen

  2.  

    Sajid Sadpara gave an interview to local tv channel saying that their chances of survival with the current wind and temperature is close to none. He was asked if there should be a rescue response to which he said if it’s to retrieve their bodies then maybe. For a 22 year old, he is very intelligent in such matters. To understand that rescue operations in such conditions can cause more harm. I believe this is the point where we say good bye to those legends. 2021 was another disastrous year on k2 and will not forgotten. RIP Ali, JP and Snorri.

  3.  

    Does anyone have insight into what might have happened with these three expert mountaineers? I am at a loss. I guess maybe that’s why they became so accomplished, they believe in themselves and determination. They have courage to try because they have succeeded so many times in the past,

    They chose such an impossible task.

    •  

      Since they were the only ones on the upper reaches of the mountain that day, they are the only ones who can tell what happened. Or, this will remain a mystery. They did reach the bottleneck according to Sajid as that’s where he turned back but events after that are known to only the 3 climbers. Bottleneck just below the serac is an extremely dangerous place so it can be falling chunks from serac causing avalanches to rock fall or even slipping if the ropes Nepalese team placed were missing and this group had to fix new ropes. Beyond the traverse, climbers can be swept off the mountain from high winds that could have been localized at the summit ridge.

    •  

      Since all three of them missing with no contact to radio link etc, I am assuming may be they have been caught by some accident… may be under giant Serac(since winds were picking up) and lost right away. Else at least somone would have shown up somehow.
      Highly unlikely that all of their communication devices gave up at once.

  4.  

    Bartek Bargiel sent his drone to top of K2 when his brother Andrzej Bargiel made the first ski downhill K2. The question is whether this drone would manage to get so high in winter conditions and get back.

  5.  

    The bivouvac accounts are fascinating and timely. Thank you for sharing

  6.  

    Very sad indeed.

    Does anyone know why fixed wing planes are not used in these types of searches? Given they would not be limited by altitude it seems like they would be much more likely to identify where someone might be.

    Stay safe

    •  

      I’ll take a guess, and say it probably has to do with the general difficulty planes have always had flying in the Himalayas. It’s practically one big no fly zone for commercial airlines, and as a result the nearest airport with resources and planes could be hours away. It’s a big risk, and ultimately wouldn’t be suitable for much besides recon

    •  

      Its the cruising height of a 747 doing 500+ mph what would u realisicly be able to see. As tragic as these accidents are everyone knows the risks. 5 deaths out of 60 climbers just shows how extreme these conditions are.

    •  

      The advantage with a helicopter is its maneuverability. It can go up or down easily and can be held stationary which is important for any recon missions. Winged planes can only do fly-bys.

    •  

      I do understand all these points and they are definitely valid. On the other hand the military has a lot of sophisticated planes that should be able to handle the altitude and terrain. I would think you could do flybys and take high resolution photos which could be quickly sent via satellite to computers or people to analyze. Given that it is known what color their clothing is, I would think it would be fairly simple to have a computer analyze the photos for these particular colors.

      Given the dangers of flying helicopters in the terrain and weather I think more efficient and less dangerous preliminary searches could be made. But it is definitely not my area of expertise. Given the relative rarity of events like these I am guessing no one has found it worth the time and expense of developing an efficient alternative.

      Of course they won’t be found by any method if they are hiding in a snow cave.

      •  

        I have thought af this but it could open a political can of worms. 3 Military powers in the area certainly would have those sort of planes: Nato in Afghanistan, India and China. China will not like the other 2 so near it’s airspace, or from what I understand, they might argue that it is their airspace.

      •  

        The few photos I’ve seen of K2 makes it look like a hurricane on top of the mountain with all the snow blowing and obscuring the peak.

        I don’t know that it’s safe for anyone to be flying right now.

  7.  

    I Feel very sorry for the missing climbers on K2. Alan i find it very strange that a father let’s his young son return alone from that high on the mountain, especially when the son has a problem with his oxygen.

    •  

      Sajid is an accomplished climber himself having summited K2 once before. Also, Sajid was not using oxygen until they got close to the Bottleneck when he decided to put it on and had trouble with the mask regulator which in hindsight was good as that made him turn-around and live to tell his story.

    •  

      In an interview today, to local journalists, Sajid said he decided to use oxygen because he was losing his mind. As he was trying to fix the must to his face, the oxygen leaked away. Given his condition, for which he had to use oxygen in the first place, he was sent back. I don’t have experience of such matters, but it sounds like a sound decision in those conditions. My heart goes out to the poor man who then waited for them for 20 hours. Keeps the light on in his tent to guide them. And now he has apparently reconciled with the fact that they are probably dead (all as per his video interview today).

  8.  

    Chhang Dawa Sherpa has updated that he and Sajid were in a helicopter this morning and they flew up to 7800m high (which is what camp height?) on the Abruzzi route and around .. nothing found 🙁 . below is his post:

    Today, 2 Army helicopters (along with Saijd and I) made a search flight (with an aerial reconnaissance) for an hour up to its maximum limit: 7800m again to locate missing climbers Ali, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo Mohr in K2. The search team went through the Abruzzi and other routes, we had less weather visibility above C 4, unfortunately, no trace at all.

    The wind above 6400m is still 40KM.

    •  

      7800m is about halfway between camp 4 and the bottleneck

      •  

        That is mighty high .. but means they need to be in that vicinity to be spotted – in the event they’re still above the bottleneck (for whatever reason) – this search will not show up with anything ..

        As other’s have suggested, i’m not sure if its possible to drop people up that high to go up .. but then climbing up from there will take hours n hours and whoever gets dropped won’t be physically ready .. plus rescues near summit are almost impossible.. just that their families might get to have closure .. dunno .. too many ifs and buts .. but 36 hours at that altitude has to be a miracle survival ..

        •  

          If they are stuck at or above the bottleneck since Friday, it is extremely unlikely that they are still alive, they would have had two unplanned bivies above 8200m in winter at -50C. I think the main hope was that they got seriously delayed for whatever reason, and maybe found shelter in camp 3 or below after had Sajid downclimbed. This team was the only ones who had managed to get this high up on the mountain during the good weather window, now that winds have picked up there is simply no way anyone can reach them if they are still above the bottleneck.

  9.  

    Hi Alan. I believe this is a legit link. A couple of tweets recently about the heli searches. Jenni https://twitter.com/DeputyShigar

  10.  

    thank you for including all the bivouac stories and diligent reporting alan, it brings hope to this scary situation. i have them in my thoughts.

  11.  

    Many acts of selflessness are on display at the moment .. the climbers that are trying to launch a search on foot, the pilots flying the copters in adverse weather and higher than usual altitudes, the Sherpa who stayed back on Camp 1 to assist Sajid .. and Sajid’s selflessness to stay up on Camp 3 for 20 hours hoping for a return ..

    I also think Ali has demonstrated selflessness by sending his son back and had also passed on a word that if they don’t return by 20 hours or so he has to descend – i just think that’s what a father would do for his son.

    I’m with a heavy heart and feel these acts of humanity – something good in the face of such adverseness on K2.

    Let’s hope the experience of the 3 has kept them safe somehow.

    Any further updates Alan – search with the helicopters was to resume this morning?
    Cheers,
    Abbas

  12.  

    Hope they are safe and make it back safely…

  13.  

    Its just not sinking in.. the 3 were there near bottleneck before Sajid descended.. anything can happen from that point on.. I think they are experienced enough to knew when to not push too much but then that same experience might have given them the confidence to push that little bit more..

    I have a feeling they have either gauged the conditions and switched to a different plan, which we don’t know has worked or not.. or they’re just stuck where they are.. and not a very comfortable point to be at the height they are..

    Such humanity at display.. Sajid staying for 20 hours at Camp 3 waiting for them to return is a selfless act considering he wasn’t prepared for it plus no oxygen..

    I feel his descending after 20 hours of waiting is by plan which his father would have told him Incas they don’t show up.. selflessness there as well..

    I can’t think of anything but to hope that Ali, John and JP have pulled a rabbit out of their hat and have done something in their experience that’ll get them through this.. and get us through this.. with a heavy heart..

  14.  

    What an unspeakable tragedy….Ali Sadpara had just obtain the financial baking of the Pakistani government for his remaining 8.000s to climb, JP Mohr has a large family in Chile….These are some of the toughest, most accomplished mountaineers in the world, it’s hard to believe in an error of judgement on their part , something horrendous must have happened, typical of this mountain. For the people that mention past bivouacs up high on K2 , I remind you that those were all done in July or August, with temperatures much warmer then now.
    Hope and pray for a real miracle.

    •  

      I feel the same way.. their experience should tell them when to turn back, but the same experience would have given them the confidence to push on.. not sure which is worse but right now it doesn’t matter.
      We really need them to show up somewhere in any state..

      I’m getting to a conjecture that sending Sajid back was not just because if his oxygen regulator but a father’s wish to see his son stay alive.. that’s selflessness, and on sajid’s part to stay at camp 3 for 20 hours waiting for their return is another act of selflessness..

      I’m not sure when they were at bottleneck already 3 hours behind (considering the Nepalese summit was at 4.45pm) their summit would have been close to 8pm.. so was there any logic pushing on from that point.. unless they thought of making good time.. could this be bad decision making that people are prone to at that height exposed to that cold.. I know they did it with their best intentions and knowledge..

      Kudos to all that are getting to search for them including the pilots flying the helicopters in not so ideal conditions, and the climbers and Sherpa on foot giving it their best.. and why wouldn’t they.. just a couple of weeks ago Ali and John had left K2 tu help search and rescue near broadpeak.. there’s countless displays of humanity in one winter..

      These 3 are accomplished climbers so I’m hoping they’ve switched to plan B or something that we don’t know of.. however conditions up there in winter are nothing short of deadly.. I’m with such a heavy heart and want to see them back..

      Praying on..

    •  

      I’m thinking that at 10am at bottleneck they were already 3 hours behind schedule (and considering the Nepalese team summitted at almost 5pm), Ali, JP and John would have summitted at 8pm .. that is just way beyond the time to be up there .. my other thought is if they had a plan to summit another morning (Saturday) which again is not possible as they were not camping overnight and they knew winds would pickup by then.

      I just hope there hasn’t been a freak accident. Just hoping they show up somewhere in any state.
      Abbas

      •  

        How do you know the timing? Is that when the sent back Sajid? Is there a timeline of events anywhere?

        Thank you fir your comments

        •  

          Yes, 10am is when Sajid says they sent him back from near the bottleneck (actually I think I heard him say 11am in his interview today).

  15.  

    Can drones not be used to search high enough for climbers? I think they have been used recently to deliver medication to climbers who couldn’t otherwise have been reached.

    Also, I saw a YouTube video of a helicopter that “landed” on top of everest which was a few years old. Do rescuers not have access to one to search up to the peak of k2 which is lower than everest, therefore it should be able to reach it as well?

    How about a plane using an HD camera? With today’s technology one would think it would be suitable to search the peak of a mountain as long as the weather cooperates.

    Keeping fingers crossed for the impossible.

    •  

      That’s a very good point, a couple years back they were able to spot Rick Allen with a drone high on Broad Peak, and that probably saved his life.

      •  

        Actually, Weather on K2 is very bad from previous 2-3 days, so it’s nearly impossible to land on K2 peak. Another team of climbers on K2 descended back 2-3 days ago due to bad weather. Yesterday helicopters were flying at maximum 7000 m height.

    •  

      No drone can fly at these altitudes and temperatures. As with the choppers the thin air is a problem for the rotors. Additionally the temperature will kill the batteries

    •  

      There is no chance to get a drone over the bottleneck due to both altitude and winds. At least not the drones on the market today.

    •  

      There’s only a select model of helicopters capable of making it to 8000+ meters – i don’t think Pakistan or Nepal has those – it was done by an independent person who was attempting a record.

      Also you wont be able to control a drone 3000m above you in such weather – that is, if a drone that can do that even exists on the commercial market (sure the powerful militaries of the world would have it) ..

      •  

        Eariler even I was assuming the same but after some research i found out Ecureuil AS350 and Lama 315sa are the best high altitude machines available and same have been used in rescue operation.
        There was a instance when Euureil 350 even landed on top of Everest, almost 8900mtrs and Lama has a world record of some 12000mtrs however all depend on condition and weather.
        During last search today, I think they even reach to 7800mtrs, But not enough for this rescue.

    •  

      Bartek Bargiel drove his drone already up to 8400m along K2 in summer, to follow his brother descending the mountain by sky. But of course, very sadly, strong winds and winter make a totally different scenario. Building a vehicle that can support less than -50°C and can be stable also in strong winds, this will be a great challenge.

  16.  

    Surprising to forget the Bonatti-Mahdi bivouac. No need to remind where and when.

  17.  

    Your fine reporting is very much appreciated. The stories you shared are incredible and give hope.

  18.  

    Thank you for the update.

    It’s seems so impossible they would survive. I know we need to hope for miracles.

    I have great concern for them but my heart aches for their families. Maybe that malfunctioning regulator will turn out to be a positive happenstance, at least we know the son should make it home to his mother.

    As the mother of a son i guess that’s where my heart and my head selfishly turn, at least the son will survive.

    I don’t understand it though. These three are all great, experienced mountaineers. Only people with determination can face that cold willingly and even add the challenge of no oxygen. Adrian said he needed his whole team to summit without oxygen in the summer, he needed that much support. In the winter insane cold and wind it is so much harder.

    Still hoping for a miracle.

    •  

      I forgot to add an appreciation for the brave pilots and climbers volunteering to search for them and help them home.

      Thank you to all the rescuers.

      •  

        I agree, Sharon, and join you in appreciation. Just the brief mention of Pemba Sherpa, climbing down with Noel Hanna and instead remaining at Camp 1 to help Sajid, brought tears to my eyes. The very best of humanity on display. God bless and comfort them all.

  19.  

    Thx Alan for your reporting. I am checking here every few hours for the update wishing for a miracle with all 3 climbers showing up in one of the lower camps. Very few people expected a winter summit of K2 and we had not 1 or 2 but 10 people summit just a few weeks ago. I am hoping we may see something similar here with these 3 climbers bivouac on the upper reaches of K2 and descend tomorrow. They are strong both physically and mentally. Praying they will make it.

  20.  

    Alan, thank you for update and for all this interesting info. This shows the power of human spirit. All is well, when ended well.
    Lets hope and pray for good news.