Seven Summits Treks is leaving K2 Base Camp, thus ending their effort for a winter summit. The strongest climbers on their team gave it their best effort but no one summited the world’s second highest peak. Tragically two died in their effort. By my approximate count, 14 of the 20 “members” made an attempt.
This also blunts the search for the three missing climbers. John Snorri, Ali Sadpara, and Juan Pablo (JP) Mohr Prieto who remain missing with no trace.
Of course, as we all now know, there were summits of K2 on January 16 by a team of 9 Sherpas and one Magar. Nims Purja became the first person to summit K2 in the winter without supplemental oxygen. Mingma G Sherpa launched the effort with superior vision and ambition. All ten climbers worked together in a superb fashion to achieve the last winter summit of the 14 8000-meter peaks.
There is no official communication from Snorri or Ali or JP’s home teams to the public. This tragic event has brought many emotions to the surface for climbers and non-climbers alike. This is not the time for speculation or second-guessing. Similar to many alpine tragedies, we will probably never know the full story.
Even as Base Camp empties, the search for the missing three continues. Another helicopter reconnaissance, the third, found no trace once again after reaching over 7,000-meters. Meanwhile relatives of Ali, Pakistani climbers Imtiaz Hussain and Akbar Ali, cousin and nephew, were stuck at Camp 2 waiting out poor weather but have now returned to Base Camp. They hoped to climb to the Bottleneck, at least, searching for clues. Apparently, Snorri’s base camp cook staff will remain to support the searchers. But they are basically on their own. It’s unclear if they will try again with a week of bad weather in the forecast.
However, there seems to be ongoing government support. Raja Nasir Ali Khan, Minister for Tourism, Sports, Culture & Archeology, tweeted:
. #Alisadpara‘s very own Akbar and Imtiaz, who are the High Altitude climbers, had to retreat in face of the hostile weather. We using all choices with the help of our army, but it’s also important to accept that the chance of their survivability is evaporating along time. The rescue has been suspended for the time being due to bad weather, but it’s not over yet. It’s also important to let you know that the weather forecasts for next one week is not favourable. Anytime we get the weather window, the search will be resumed…
Dawa of SST gave this update on the end of their expedition:
Due to the continuous bad weather (forecast) further seven days more, Our expedition is off and we all are returning from basecamp toward Skardu. •Imtiaz and Akbar headed to high camp yesterday, cook, LO, kitchen boys from Jasmine tours (operator of John and Ali’s expedition) are still at basecamp supplying the supports. •Due to the bad weather, no helicopter search flight for today, when the weather permits the authorities will send more HAP for ground SAR. It’s been more than 90 hours, no news of the mountaineers Juan, Muhammad Ali, and John Snorri missing on K2 since last Friday.
The trek out is long, several days, but this one will feel even longer.
Manaslu: Big Winds at BC, Summit Push Soon
Simone Moro, Alex Txikon, and Iñaki Alvarez are at Manaslu Base Camp. They have the route fixed to 6650-meters. The winds are expected to ease and the climbers will go for their winter summit. Simone updated:
Very high winds wiped out part of our Base Camp. We worked all day to repair it and fix everything and we succeeded. The expedition can continue.
Memories are Everything