/ NEWS: Tragedy On K2

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UKC News - on 02 Aug 2008
A tragedy on K2 is unfolding. Report by Jason A. Hendricks.

"News is still kind of confusing as to who has died and who is still trapped above the bottleneck. I am hearing varied reports of 5 climbers still trapped–7 climbers still trapped–or as many as 12. It is definitely a precarious situation."

Luca Signorelli - on 02 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News:

More news from the Dutch expedition site

philip king on 02 Aug 2008 - h25n3c1o1003.bredband.skanova.com
In reply to UKC News:

This taken from the Swedish press:
"Swedish climber in K2 death drama

Published: 2 Aug 08 13:42 CET
Online: http://www.thelocal.se/13450/

Swedish mountaineer Fredrik Sträng was forced to break off his expedition to help another team to safety as four people were killed in avalanches on the notoriously challenging Mount Godwin Austin.

The mountain peak, also known as K2 or Mount Chogori, is situated between China and Pakistan in the Karakorum mountain chain.

Disaster first struck on Friday evening, Swedish time, as Sträng and his team were scaling the mountain peak at an elevation of 8600 metres.

Upon learning of the avalanche, Sträng's team broke off its ascent and went to help another group to safety after one of its members had been killed.

As they climbed down, another climber lost his life and Sträng almost went down with him, according to the climber’s spokesperson, Joachim von Stedingk.

Speaking to TT, von Stedingk explained that as Sträng was preparing for a second attempt to reach the summit, parts of the ice wall called Bottleneck Couloir slammed down.

“This avalanche caused a further two deaths and at least eight people are completely cut off now. How they will come down now nobody knows.”

Fredrik Sträng is the only Swede on the expedition and all of his eight team members are safe.

Right now, his team is climbing down to a lower level with injured and shocked climbers.

The teams are presently at 7500 metres, which significantly worsens rescue services’ chances of helping them.

“The low air pressure means that it isn’t possible to fly a helicopter at those heights. In addition, your muscle capacity minimizes significantly, as well as your mental capacity”, von Stedingk told TT.

Sträng is an experienced climber who has holds a record as the only Swede to have climbed seven of the Earth’s highest peaks in the world within six months.

The K2 peak is regarded as one of the world’s most challenging and dangerous mountains to climb.

Sträng´s current expedition is in aid of raising awareness for Sweden’s charity Help the Children.

TT/Claudia Rodas (news@thelocal.se)"
Bren Whelan - on 02 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News: I'd like to make one part of the news report a little clearer, Gerard McDonnell, is from Co Limerick in Ireland. He became the first Irish person to reach the summit of K2 on August 1st.He has been living and working in Alaska for 10 years.

Everyone here in Ireland is praying that both he, and all the others on the mountain can keep working their way down to lower levels safely.
the colonel - on 02 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News:

Norit site had problems with traffic so updates are at
mieke on 03 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl
There is an UPDATE now on the temporary mirror-site!

Emercency update 08.50 K2


mieke on 03 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl

K2 breaking news: Wilco found alive!
11:32 pm CDT Aug 02, 2008

(K2Climb.net) Norit expedition leader Dutch Wilco Van Rooijen has incredibly survived 3 nights exposure on the high slopes of K2.

He is currently in Camp 3, together with Cas and Pemba Sherpa. Yesterday, Wilco was located between camp 4 and 3 on the Cesen route thanks to GPS coordinates on his Thuraya sat phone, and later people in BC spotted him coming down very slowly under his own power.

The Dutch mountaineer, who already scaled Everest without supplementary oxygen and attempted K2 twice before, also has a number of spectacular polar expeditions to his credit.

Norit was the first expedition on the mountain this year, spending over two months there to fix ropes and set up camps. This has provided Wilco with excellent acclimatization which, along with mountaineering skills and polar endurance, contributed to save his life.

Wilco reportedly suffers frostbite, and is not out of danger yet. Still, this survival is bound to go down as one of the greatest mountaineering tales in K2's history.

© ExWeb - posted with permission
Tom G - on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to mieke:

All thoughts and prayers going out from Ireland to the missing climbers. I hope that somehow there's a happy ending here, but now we're going in to a 4th nights in the death zone...
Greenbanks - on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News:

Very sad news on what seems to be (by many accounts) one of the toughest of the 8,000'ers. Thoughts & prayers etc for those that have gone & for those who still might be trapped.

No time for speculation at all. But I wonder if the ice-avalanche has anything to do with changing macro-climates?
RocknRoll - on 03 Aug 2008

Gerard Mc Donnell family make a statement that they are coming to terms with his untilely death.

Since 1952 189 people have reached the summit of K2 and more than 50 climbers have died, at least 22 while descending from the summit.


From yesterday but a more detailed report. It was Gerards second attempt on K2 after bing hit by rock fall on his previous attempt in 2006.


BBC report that nine are feared dead.

mieke on 03 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl
In reply to UKC News:

Emergency update 01.30 K2 (August 4, K2-time)


mieke on 03 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl
In reply to UKC News:

Check it out, please!

K2's double tragedy - blowing out candles for scoops and fame

02:14 pm CDT Aug 03, 2008

deacondeacon - on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to mieke: Two HAP's were sent up to assist from camp 4.

Could someone tell me what HAP means.
Also which is the most reliable website for latest news
Padraig on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to deacondeacon:

HAP High Altitude Porter
liz j on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to deacondeacon:
High altitude porter, no idea about the websites. Thoughts are with the families.
mieke on 03 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl
In reply to deacondeacon:
>Could someone tell me what HAP means.

HAP means High Altitude Porter (i.e. not every, "ordinary" porter can do the job at such extreme altitudes).

deacondeacon - on 03 Aug 2008
In reply to mieke: thanks all

Trangia on 04 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News:

Tragically death toll now at 11, but good news that two Dutch climbers have been rescued


That must be getting close to a helio's maximum operational ceiling?
sasmojo - on 04 Aug 2008
In reply to UKC News: Sympathies to all those involved.
mieke on 04 Aug 2008 - 5353EBE4.cable.casema.nl
In reply to Trangia:
>Tragically death toll now at 11, but good news that two Dutch climbers have been rescued

Don't forget they're about to rescue an Italian climber as well: Marco Confortola.
"Italian refuses to give in as 11 die on K2"

And ExWeb - in their latest publication - speaks of 2 Austrians who were at first believed missing, but who've turned up in base camp. In addition to reports about "Some climbers" who were reportedly "still on their way down the Abruzzi Spur yesterday". Yesterday would be Sunday?!
See: http://www.k2climb.net/news.php?id=17464
Quote: "The really good news is that 2 reportedly missing Austrians were found in BC. "

In reply to Trangia:
>That must be getting close to a helio's maximum operational ceiling?

It would take an expert to answer such questions about choppers in the Himalayas, which I'm surely not. However, maybe this will help.

It's all too common for climbers to FLY to K2 BC by helicopter b/f. Meaning it can't be a real big deal (apart from weather conditions) that the two surviving Dutch expedition members were rapidly brought over to a hospital in Skardu that way.

As for technical limitations, skilled helicopter pilots and altitudes: a few years back (May 2005) French pilot Didier Delsalle astonished everyone when he actually made it to the very top of Chomolungma, or Mount Everest, by helicopter! The "Eurocopter" made an (of course heavily disputed, for that's inevitable) short "touch down" on the mountain.
See f.e.: http://www.ambafrance-np.org/article.php3?id_article=646 (website of the French Embassy in Kathmandu).
However, Delsalle was alone on board (think in terms of WEIGHT now).

So in view of the tragic situation with injured and missing mountaineers and their porters on K2 now, a more significant comparison imo would be the successful attempt of the Pakistani Army to rescue Tomas Humar from the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat in August 2005. By helicopter.

See f.e. in here:
Quote: "Humar was stranded at a height of 6500 meters on the precipitous Rupal face of the Nanga Parbat, also known as the Killer Mountain 14 days ago. The mountaineer was rescued by the Pakistan Army Aviation pilots last Thursday when they conducted a high-risk rescue operation to bring him back to the base camp."

Note: in those same days a couple of highly experienced SWISS "mountain rescue chopper pilots" were on their way to Nanga Parbat already, to try and assist (fly) if necessary in a rescue mission for Humar. Several (spectacular) pictures f.e. still in here:

So unless we know the altitudes of the several camps on K2, the ways in which they're situated and if a helicopter can come near at all, the winds and the overall weather conditions, PLUS the conditions of any of the injured, it's hard to judge from here what would be the "maximum operational ceiling" for the heroes of the Pakistani Airforce...

I read that the (regional) government together with the Pakistani outfitters concerned, held an emergency meeting meanwhile. In order to discuss what could and should still be done for those (possibly) still alive yet in trouble on the flanks of K2 after this weekend's catastrophy. There is no doubt in mind that the host country is currently doing its utmost too to help try and find, and then rescue, as many perhaps still surviving climbers & porters as they technically can. But you'd first need to find them...

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