Three Missing K2 climber declared dead

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Muhammad Ali Sadpara

Search efforts for the climbers – famous Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara, Jon Snorri of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile – who went missing on February 5 were called off last week amid bad weather.

The announcement by Sajid Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara, draws curtain on a dramatic tragedy on K2 that kept Pakistan on the tenterhooks for nearly two weeks. It also drew to a close the perilous search and rescue operation – arguably one of the longest in the history of mountaineering.

His son Sajid was also a member of the team and the idea was for the father-and-son duo to summit K2 without oxygen, a feat never done before in winter. But Sajid had to turn back from a spot called the Bottleneck – also known as the “death zone”, some 300 metres from the top – after he felt sick.

Afterwards, he helped military-led rescue teams scour the mountain for signs of his father and the other two men.

On Thursday, the search was officially called off – and all three climbers declared dead.

“All the weather experts, climbers and experts from the Pakistan army have reached the conclusion that a human being cannot live for that long in such harsh weather. That’s why we are announcing that they are no more,” said Raja Nasir Ali Khan, a provincial minister for tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan, where K2 is located.

Mohammad Ali Sadpara was born in 1976 in Sadpara, a village in one of the river valleys of the Himalayan Baltistan region in Pakistan’s extreme north.

Livestock farming is the main source of livelihood in the region, and the area’s youth also work as porters with Western mountaineers and adventure tourists who frequent the region each year.