World-renowned London-born mountaineer Rick Allen has died aged 66 while attempting a new route on the south-east face of K2 (8611m) in the Karakoram Range. Allen was caught in an avalanche following heavy deposits of fresh snow from a recent storm.
He was raising money for charity Partners Relief and Development alongside his expedition partner Jerry Gore, who is raising money for Action4Diabetes.
Allen was climbing with mountain guides Jordi Tosas of Spain and Austrian Stefan Keck when the avalanche hit. Tosas and Keck were rescued with minor injuries. Gore was climbing K2's Normal Route separately to the affected team after the group had spent the night at Advanced Base Camp together.
In 2012, Allen made the first complete ascent of Nanga Parbat's Mazeno Ridge alongside Sandy Allan, a feat which earned the pair a Piolet d'Or.
British mountaineer Stephen Venables described Allen as 'one of the best.' "I wonder if any other British climber can equal Rick's record at altitude?" he wrote on Twitter.
A devotee to pure alpine style ascents, Rick 'had an amazing ability to climb fast over 6000m,' Gore wrote on Facebook.
Partners Relief and Development said in a statement: "It is with great sadness to announce that Rick Allen, a member of the board and also a great friend, has died whilst attempting a new route on K2. Rick died doing what he loved the most and lived his life with the courage of his convictions. Rick was committed to serving the world's poorest and most vulnerable communities. All members of the board send our condolences to Rick's family."
Allen had previously been presumed dead in 2018 after becoming disorientated due to poor visibility and falling during a solo attempt to summit the nearby Broad Peak. He was located after a cook spotted his rucksack on a slope, and was subsequently pinpointed by a drone belonging to Andrzej Bargiel's filmmaking team during his ski descent of K2.
Allen will be buried at the foot of K2 in accordance with the wishes of his family.
Listen to Allen's account of his Mazeno Ridge climb shared by the Alpine Club:
#OnThisDay in 2012, Sandy Allan & Rick Allen made the 1st complete ascent of the Mazeno Ridge.— Alpine Club (@thealpineclub) July 15, 2021
However, the real difficulties were only just beginning, as Rick recalls in this segment from our Nanga Parbat ClubCast.
Hear the full story of the descent ➡️ https://t.co/LwSJuafRlK pic.twitter.com/Qmd6JQJHAj
Obituary to follow.