ISLAMABAD: The climbing missions are almost over on K2 after a massive avalanche wiped out tents and gear deposited by climbers higher on the slopes of K2 the second highest mountain in the world.
The Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) here on Saturday said that on July 27 2016, both commercial teams and independent climbers decided to abandon their attempts to summit the 8,611-metre-high peak.
“All the progress made was completely wiped out. Fortunately, none of the climbers were in the higher camps and discussing strategies how to make the summit push. The heavy snow prevented climbers to step outside the tents,” said Karrar Haidri, a spokesperson for the ACP. He said all equipment for the summit attempt such as tents, oxygen, ropes, food, etc were lost.
According to a veteran climber, July 27 seemed to be a good day to climb.
In 2013, two climbers – Marty Schmidt and his son Daniele Schmidt – were spending a night in one such higher camp when an avalanche swept them away. The two climbers were never found.
While no one was hurt on K2, a trekker on the magnificent Gondoghoro La Pass in the Karakuram Range was not so lucky.
Hashim Bukhari, in a trekking group, fell while descending the pass and sustained serious head injuries.
He was rescued by an army helicopter and taken to hospital.
This was the third consecutive year that an accident has occurred with the trek organisers, raising concerns about their experiences, expertise and safety measures.
In 2014, during a similar trek on the Gondogoro La Pass, Waqas Siddiqui from the Nature Explorers, a small trek organising business, died while descending the dangerous route. Similarly, in 2015, three people went missing on the Toshe-Ri Peak.
The ACP said most trek organising businesses were inexperienced and lacked expertise, especially when it came to ensuring safety of amateur adventurers who paid hefty fees to the organisers.
“It is imperative that tour operators and trek organisers are given the necessary training. Random trek organisers must be discouraged from putting others’ lives in danger,” said Mr Haidri.
He explained that it was necessary to set a standard such as in the international mountaineering community to meet a certain criterion to qualify for a certain trek or climbing mission.
“On Mount Everest, it is mandatory that a climber must have summated a 6,000-metre-high peak. Similarly, a climber must have summated an 8,000 metres-plus peak before attempting to climber K2,” he added.