With teams now above the High Camp, C4, fixing the route to the summit, the bodies of the three climbers who died this past winter season 2020/21 were found. K2 summits perhaps tonight, July 26, 2021.
Three Bodies Found on K2
The bodies of the three missing winter climbers, Pakistani Ali Sadpara, Icelander John Snorri, and Chilean Juan Pablo Mohr Prieto have been found near the Bottleneck. Sherpas from Madison Mountaineering, Masherbrum Expeditions treks and Tours 300 meters found them below the bottleneck 300-meters above C4.
The three left C4 on February 5, 2021, along with Ali’s son Sajid Sadpara. Sajid’s oxygen regulator had a problem and his father sent him back to C4 to wait for them. They never returned. Sajid tried to search and call out to them with no results. Eventually, he returned to Base Camp. Airplanes using advanced infrared technology searched the area where the climbers went missing again with no positive results.
Sajid Sadpara has a small team on K2 this summer conducting a land and drone search. On their first sorte’ to C3/4, they used the drone with no success. They were reportedly at C4 this morning when the bodies were found. My sincere condolences to all for their losses.
There will be time for speculation on if they died going up or down from the summit and perhaps the answer will be revealed or become another enduring mystery similar to Mallory and Irvine on Everest. But now is the time for space for all the families to grieve.
Karakorum Big Picture – Focus
With Rick Allen’s death, finding the bodies of three climbers who died last winter near the Bottleneck, and a major team quitting, it’s time for the remaining teams to focus on the mission.
Climbing always involves “distractions” that usually come in the form of weather, GI problems (nausea, diarrhea, etc.) poor dynamic within the team, or more practically, the stress of high altitude climbing. Experienced climbers learn to manage their emotions and reactions to these distractions, but inexperienced ones can let them play mind games on them and get discouraged. This is where leadership comes into play.
A strong, grounded leader will help members get through these times with a minimal amount of wasted energy. In today’s situation on K2, with all the signs of deaths, it’s expected that climbers think about their own mortality and families back home. Some may choose to say that climbing a mountain is just not worth the risk – even after months or years of preparation. Others will “compartmentalize” their emotions and stay focused.
Each person’s reaction is unique for them and not to be judged. I can vouch that it’s a tough time, but also a moment where you dig deep for your personal “why” you are there, draw strength from your purpose and do your best.
We will see several different strategies tonight and over the next couple of days on K2. It appears that Pioneer is out front working with Sherpas from Maddison to fix the ropes. Pioneers’ clients from Ukraine will follow closely hoping to summit tonight. With the boot path in, Madison will go up the next day using the existing ropes. I expect the smaller teams, including Pakistani favorite young climber, Shehroze Kashif, to join either tonight or more likely tomorrow. Overall we may see close to 50 K2 summits early this week.
K2 – Getting Close!
Pioneer Adventure gave this update after reaching C4. They are targeting July 27 for the summit:
Our Sherpa team have already set up camps at Camp 4. As informed by Mr. Sanu Sherpa our rope fixing team have successfully fixed rope till few meters above the K2 Bottle Neck and are back to Camp 4. Our team will head for their final summit push tonight. [July 26, 2021]
Garrett Madison of Madison Mountaineering sent me this text from Camp 2 on the Abruzzi. They are targeting July 28 for the summit:
Thanks Alan! Up at camp 2 now with our team, planning to head to camp 3 tomorrow. Beautiful weather! Will see how our Sherpas do tomorrow with the rope fixing above camp 4.
I communicated with Jon Gupta this morning, Monday, July 26, 2021, from C3. He said, “Weather is glorious… it’s hot!! No gloves today up to 7300!” Also, that morale was high. He mentioned he was seeing “sluffing” which is loose snow from avalanche activity. Jon sent me this picture of Broad Peak as seen from C3 this evening July 26, 2021:
K2 – Over
Karakorum Expeditions made this announcement ending their effort:
Our team recovered the body of the legendary Rick Allen from the glacier near ABC, last night , after consulting with his family and friends, the Legend will be buried this morning under the foot of Mighty K2! Meanwhile, due to the high risk of avalanches up on the mountain and lack of coordination between the expedition teams, our expedition on K2 is over! Details of the events on Broad peak and K2 will be shared soon!
Gasherbrum I – Climbing from C4
Marco Confortola’s home team updated his progress that he was at C4 leaving for the top tonight, Monday. This will be the first summit of GI this season if successful so they are breaking the trail and fixing the route virtually alone.
Broad Peak – Another Summit Attempt
Around 20 climbers who didn’t make it to the true summit in the last push are back on Broda Peak for another try. Some are reported at C3 today, Monday. They are made up of a disparate group of international climbers from multiple teams. This update from the home team, Helene Mattison:
Sarah is at C3 with a possy of about 20 climbers, who ganged up from different teams and nationalities, to make another summit attempt. Sarah will be heading up soonest hoping to summit in the next 24-36 hrs. If successful she will then try to ski off the summit down to wherever the snow line is and she will be the first woman to do this. Light a candle peeps- it s real up there.Billy hiked out to lower elevations together with others who attempted that first fatal day. He felt he was not able to stay up at 15,000 ft for a week, waiting for good weather. He is all good and comfortable with the decisions he made. He says the mountains are just as, if not more magnificent than Nepal.Also want to share the following communication I just had with Billy about the gentleman who perished on K2:“I got to know Rick Allen on this trip. He was the only guy older than me. We fist bumped every time we saw each other joking about our ages. He was stronger than me. He never forgot my name and was quick with a hi Billy. Super nice guy!!! This was his 12th trip to Pakistan. I asked his age early in the trip he said 66. I said I was 63 and he fist bumped me. That started it He was a wiry , totally grey guy. Very outgoing and friendly”
Teams and Trackers (partial list)
- Broad Peak, K2
- Madison Mountaineering: 9 climbers (USA, UK & Ukrain), 10 Nepal Sherpas, 4 Pakistani high altitude porters, and 10 Pakistani base camp staff. TrackerKenton Cool with a client. TrackerJon Gupta with a client
- Karakorum Expeditions: 11 members supported by 22 Pakistani climbers. Trackers: Fotis Theocharis and Carlos Garranzo
- Graham Zimmerman and Ian Welsted: West Ridge – No Public Tracker Known
- K2 Only
- Ukrainian-Nepalese K2 Expedition 2021: 3 Ukrainians and 3 Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure Sherpas
- Ukraine team Alpomania supported by 6 Sherpas from Nepal’s Pioneer Adventure
- Sajid Ali Sadpara: searching for evidence of his father, Muhammad Ali Sadpara. Team of 3 with BC support. Tracker
- Jeff Spelman and Niels Jespers Tracker
- Broad Peak only
- Gasherbrum I
- Gasherbrum II
- Broad Peak, GI, and GII
- Serge Hardy
- Nanga Parbat – Over
Memories are Everything
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