Latest as of 3.30 am, Monday, February 8, 2021, – K2 Time: John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto remain missing with no trace.
We are learning more about what happened at the Bottleneck directly from Ali’s son, Sajid. Of note he said he and his father were climbing without supplemental oxygen but had a bottle in their pack for emergencies. Also when he left the three, they had no radio or sat phone. He felt they summited and had an accident on the descent in the Bottleneck, but he is not sure.
There is no official communication from Snorri or Ali or JP’s home teams to the public.
Sajid Ali Sadpara made this statement from Skardu where he was flown by an army helicopter. He went up with the helicopter to approximately 7800 meters but found not signs of the missing climbers: (thanks to Desnivel for the translation)
Pakistani Ali Madad (*), who lives in Tenerife, has translated the statements of Sajid Ali upon his arrival in Skardu:«We started the ascent at 11 or 12 at night. As we ascended, we passed the groups of the Sherpa expedition descending. At about 8,200 meters, at the Bottleneck, I felt that I was not feeling well, I was lacking oxygen [up to that point Sajid and his father had ascended without using artificial oxygen]. My father told me to use the oxygen from the client [John Snorri] because there was enough.
When I was putting the regulator on, the oxygen started to leak because it didn’t fit well. As I was not feeling well, my father told me to go down, while they continued up. At 12 o’clock I began to descend towards Camp 3, which I arrived at at 5 in the afternoon. I spoke to the base camp and explained that my teammates were trying to reach the top and that the next day we would descend together. They did not carry a satellite phone or walkie talkie.
I made tea and hot water and then left a light on so they could find the store. I was all night without sleep, waiting for them.In the morning I called base camp to say that no one had arrived and the leader told me that, please, I had to go down because the weather was going to get worse, I was tired and it could be worse for me. He told me that he was going to send a rescue group from base camp.He told me that he was going to send a rescue group from base camp.He told me that he was going to send a rescue group from base camp.
I think they reached the summit. They must have had the accident on the descent because at night it started to get very windy. They have been eight thousand meters for two days, at that height in winter I have no hope that they are alive. There are very few.
If possible, I would greatly appreciate doing another search to find my father’s body.
Sajid Ali ends by thanking everyone: the families of Juan Pablo and Jon, the Pakistani army, the Sherpa expedition, the other mountaineers, the media….
(*) Pakistani Ali Madad, who has translated Sajid’s words, is a native of the Hunza Valley. For 7 years he has lived in Tenerife with his wife, Sonia Fariña, whom he met in Pakistan, and his daughter Naia.
Dawa of SST gave this update on today’s helicopter search:
… second flight in the afternoon by 2 Army helicopters (along with Sajid and I) made a search (with an aerial reconnaissance) for an hour up to its maximum limit: 7800m to locate missing climbers Ali, John Snorri, and Juan Pablo Mohr in K2. We 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.
Apparently they look at both routes, Abruzzi and Česen, because they could have come down the Česen.
This is the video, of Skardu TV:
He posted several pictures taken from the helicopter. Click the link to view them all.
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.
- Dec 5, 2020 – John Snorri Sigurjonsson team (John Snorri Sigurjonsson, Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Sajid Ali Sadpara aka Snorri’s’ team) arrives at Base Camp. He had hired Muhammad Ali Sadpara and Sajid Ali Sadpara to support his climb
- Dec 13 – Snorri’s team fixed 600-meters of fixed rope on the lower part of K2 above Advanced Base Camp on the Abruzzi Spur route
- Dec 17 – Snorri’s team finishes fixing the rope from ABC to C1
- Dec 20 – Mingma G and his two Sherpa teammates fix the lines to C2
- Dec 27 – Snorri’s team does first acclimatization rotation to C1 at 19,965’/6050m
- Dec 29 – Snorri’s Team at C2 and talks about steep ice and rockfall plus high winds and very cold.
- Dec 29 – Mingma G’s team fixes the rope to near the top of the Black Pyramid around 7,300-meters.
- Dec 30 – Snorri’s team returns to BC
- Dec 30 – All of the Seven Summits Trek’s 40+ person team is now at Base Camp
- Jan 3, 2021 – Snorri’s Team climbs to C2 at 22,110’/6700m
- Jan 4 – Snorri’s team returns to K2 Base Camp at 18,650ft/5650m and is held there by poor weather
- Jan 10 – Big winds destroy C2 blowing away a lot of gear for all all teams
- Jan 13 – Snorri’s team climbs from BC to C2 in one push for more acclimatization
- Jan 14 – Nims and Mingma G join teams to fix ropes to 7600-meters, near traditional C4
- Jan 15 – Snorri’s team tags C3 at 23,760’/7200m and returns to C2. They choose not to join the K2-Ten on their successful summit push and return to BC
- Jan 16 – The K2-Ten achieve the first winter summit of K2
- Jan 16 – Sergi Mingote falls to his death while descending between C1 and ABC
- Jan 17 – Alex Goldfarb dies after falling in a crevasse on Pastore Peak while acclimatizing for Broad Peak with Zoltán Szlankó
- Jan 17 – The Snorri team goes to Pastore to help search for Goldfarb.
- Jan 24 – Snorri’s team launches first summit push in a narrow weather window. They reach C3 but quickly return to BC due to high winds at 6800-meters
- Jan 30 – John tells me from Base Camp, “We 3 are pretty sure if there will be any chance to reach the summit in this window we will. And we are looking forward to stand on the summit with the Pakistani flag and Icelandic flag Want to make our nations proud “
- Feb 2 – John posts, “We are aiming for the summit on the 5th February , Friday morning at noon PKT. On the 3rd at 04.00 PKT we will start our climbing and go from base camp to camp 2, our C2 is located under House of chimney. We will rest there over night. Next morning on the 4th at 08.00 PKT we go from C2 up the Black Pyramid to regular camp 3 and rest there over the day. The same day 4th of January we start our summit push at 21.00 PKT and are aiming it will take us 15 to 16 hours to get on the summit. Today I am feeling emotional and excitement towards the summit push, we have been here for long time. It has filled our hearts with gratitude to hear about all the support we have from people all over the world. Hopefully this will be our window to make it to the winter summit of K2.”
- Feb 3 – Seeing another window, albeit also narrow, Snorri’s Team return to C2
- Feb 4 – Snorri’s team climb to C3 along with almost 20 other people seeking the summit. A lack of tents forces Snorri and team to share their tent with others, in some cases having six people in a three-person tent.
- Feb 4 – It’s reported Snorri’s Team left C3 for the summit around 23:00 on February 4, 2021. Apparently JP joins the three, after his partner Tamara Lunger turns back when not feeling healthy enough to climb. It’s now a four person team. The Sadpara’s and JP are not climbing with supplemental oxygen. It’s unclear if Snorri was on O’s but he wanted to attempt without. Their GPS tracker showed a very erratic track but this is not usual for these devices. Eventually the batteries give out in the cold and stop sending a signal. (The device tells the battery status with each transmission)
- Feb 4 – High winds and extreme cold cause most of the SST climbers to return to Base Camp, many report frostbite.
- Feb 4 – Dawa Sherpa declares that no one from the SST current summit push will summit K2 this time
- Feb 5 – Bulgarian climber Atanas Skatov dies from a fall just below C3
- Feb 5 – Around 10 am, Sajid’s started using supplemental oxygen due to fatigue but his regulator was not working properly. Unknown if it was equipment failure or improperly attached to the cylinder which is common, especially at altitude. This was the last report of seeing Snorri, Ali and JP. They were in the Bottleneck.
- Feb 5 – Sajid’s leaves C3 for a brief search for his father and the missing climbers but sees no evidence or even headlamps in the dark
- Feb 6 – Sajid returns to Base Camp at the urging of Dawa and other people, concerned for his safety.
- Feb 6 – Two Pakistani military helicopter (they always fly in pairs due to the ongoing conflict with India) reach 7,000-meters, between C2 and C3 but find nothing. They return to Skardu due to high winds
- Feb 7 – Another helicopter with a higher operating ceiling up to 7,800-meter searches near K2’s shoulder but cannot sight the climbers or evidence. Photos are taken to be inspected at Base Camp and elsewhere looking for evidence fo the missing climbers.
- Feb 7 – Sajid gives an interview to Skardu TV saying he doesn’t believe they survived but they summited and an accident occurred in the Bottleneck. He asks for the search to continue to bring his father’s body back home.
At this point future search plans are unclear given the poor weather on K2. Also unknown are the plans for the remaining people at K2 Base Camp. The next time people will return to K2 will be for the 2021 summer season in July.
Memories are Everything