K2 weather halts hunt for climbers

ISLAMABAD — Bad weather Monday forced Pakistani army helicopters to temporarily halt their search for three mountaineers who disappeared while attempting to scale K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.

The search was stopped just hours after it resumed for a third day, with officials uncertain when weather conditions would improve enough. Friends and family of the three — Pakistani climber Ali Sadpara, John Snorri of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile — grew increasingly concerned for their fate in the harsh environment.

The three lost contact with base camp late Friday and were reported missing Saturday, after their support team stopped receiving communications during their ascent of the 28,250-foot K2 — sometimes referred to as “killer mountain.”

Located in the Karakorum mountain range, K2 is one of the most dangerous climbs. Last month, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers made history by scaling it in winter for the first time.

Waqas Johar, a district government administrator, said on Twitter that almost 60% of K2 was under clouds. The search and rescue team was unable to find any clue of the climbers’ whereabouts so far, he said, adding it will attempt again once the weather improves.

Earlier, Sadpara’s son said in a video statement released to the media that the chances of the mountaineers’ survival in the harsh winter conditions were extremely low. Sadpara, an experienced climber, has scaled the world’s eight highest mountains, including the highest, Mount Everest in the Himalayas, and was attempting to climb K2 in winter.

Since the climbers disappeared, Iceland’s foreign minister, Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson, has spoken to his Pakistani counterpart, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, by telephone. According to Pakistan’s foreign ministry, Qureshi assured him that Pakistan would spare no effort in the search.

Print Headline: K2 weather halts hunt for climbers

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