Three climbers missing on remote Pakistani peak

The search for three missing climbers on a remote peak in Pakistan was called off yesterday when rescue teams could find no trace of the men. The trio was last seen on March 9 as they made their way toward the summit but what became of them after that remains a mystery.

Veteran climber Gerfried Goschl of Austria, along with Swiss mountaineer Cedric Hahlen and Pakistani guide Nisar Hussein were attempting to make the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum I, the 11th tallest peak in the world at 26,509 feet. On Thursday, March 8, they used a satellite phone to call their support team to inform them that they were just 1475 feet from the top. The climbers sounded optimistic about their chances as weather conditions improved around them and they put the more technically challenging aspects of the ascent behind them. Unfortunately, that was the last time that anyone ever talked to them.

The following day a second team of climbers made history by becoming the first to successfully climb Gasherbrum I in the winter. While on the summit, those climbers reported seeing Goschl, Hahlen and Hussein on the move and still trying to reach the top. It would be the last time that anyone would ever see the men alive.After the team failed to appear back in camp, other climbers on the mountain organized a search and rescue operation. Their efforts were hampered by poor weather conditions, however, and it was several days before helicopters could arrive on site to help them look. The search was ultimately abandoned when it failed to turn up any evidence of the whereabouts of the three men.

The Karakoram mountain range, where GI is located, is amongst the more challenging environments for climbers on the planet. Those challenges are only amplified further during the winter when the mountains are frequently buffeted by hurricane force winds and temperatures routinely plunge below -50ºF.

Goschl, Hahlen and Nisar spent nearly three months in that environment only to have their efforts tragically end this way.

[Photo credit: Uwe Gille via WikiMedia]

Korean climbers missing on Himalayan peak

Three Korean climbers have gone missing on a remote Himalayan peak that has a reputation for being amongst the most deadly in the world. The men had hoped to reach the summit along a new route yesterday, but search and rescue were initiated when there had been no word from them in nearly three days.

Park Young-seok, Kang Ki-seok and Shin Dong-min left Base Camp on Annapurna, the tenth highest peak in the world, earlier in the week with designs on reaching the summit yesterday. On Tuesday however, they radioed their support team in BC to let them know that they were aborting their climb due to dangerous conditions on the mountain. That was the last that anyone has heard from the team.

Realizing the climbers were overdue, the Base Camp team called for help in Kathmandu on Thursday, and a high altitude SAR team was dispatched, along with a helicopter, to search for the missing men. They discovered a rope that they believe was used by the team, but so far they have found no trace of the climbers themselves. It is feared that they may have fallen into a crevasse or been swept away by an avalanche.

Annapurna stands 26,545 feet (8091 meters) in height and has been called the deadliest mountain in the world. The massive peak has a fatality rate of 38%, meaning that for every three climbers who summit, one doesn’t make it back alive. That is the highest death rate on any of the 14 mountains that reach 8000 meters in height or higher.

[Photo credit: Wolfgang Beyer via WikiMedia]

Missing Climbing Team in China

News in the climbing world hasn’t been too cheery as the search for three climbers in Oregon’s Mt. Hood continues (one was said to have been found dead) and the search is also on for two highly experienced U.S. climbers in China as well. Not to take away from the domestic search, but I’ve heard little to nothing on Christine Boskoff (one of the world’s top female high-altitude climbers) and Charlie Fowler (well-known mountaineer in the U.S.) who set out or Southwest China in October and are missing. The pair was last heard from on November 9th. As in the case with Mount Hood the weather provides less than favorable conditions for rescue teams to find anyone and avalanches are also a huge factor in the Fowler-Boskoff scenario. The area is said to be very prone to avalanches. There isn’t much more to comment on now, but if you’re following this story in addition to Mount Hood and would like to help someway or somehow it appears as though mountainfilm in Telluride has created a search fund for those that wish to donate and help expand the serach effort in China.

My hope is that both teams are located and safe from harm.

via CBS News