Hope abandoned: Missing Gasherbrum climbers presumed dead

Published: March 18, 2012

A view of Gasherbrum in Baltistan, one of the highest mountains in Pakistan. PHOTO: FILE

GILGIT: 

The three climbers, who went missing on Friday, while attempting to scale the Gasharbrum I, have been declared dead, officials said on Saturday.

The climbers including high-altitude porter Nisar Sadpara, Austrian Gerfried Goschl, the team leader and Swiss Cedric Hahlen were close to the 8,068m-high summit when they were blown off the ridge by strong winter winds, according to Hassan Sadpara.

A renowned mountaineer from Skardu, Hassan conquered the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, without oxygen support in Nepal last year.

Hassan was part of the aerial surveillance team that flew to the mountain in an attempt to rescue the climbers. “It just wasn’t possible to rescue them,” he said.

The surveillance team went to Nisar’s home after their return to inform his family about the climbers’ fate. Nisar was an ace mountaineer who had climbed all five 8,000-metre-high peaks in Pakistan.

The bodies of the missing climbers have not been recovered because of bad weather and poor visibility which forced us to suspend aerial surveillance, Hassan said.

The mountaineer was hopeful they would be able to locate the bodies in summer, provided the government gives them logistical support.

Another climber, Sakhi Hassan said other teams who had set out to conquer Gasherbrum, had turned back. He was speaking to The Express Tribune from Skardu, headquarters of Baltistan, which is about 300 kilometres from Gilgit.

He said nine other climbers had abandoned the attempt to conquer the summit following the death of their three colleagues. They had also been deterred by inclement weather.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2012.

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