RAJAN POKHREL

K2 climbers return from Camp III

KATHMANDU: The world’s second highest mountain, Mt K2 in Pakistan, is going to draw a blank this summer season after a massive avalanche swept away the Camp III on Saturday morning forcing all mountaineers to quit their attempts.

According to Mingma Sherpa, Managing Director at Seven Summits Trek, all climbers including more than 25 climbing Sherpas gave up their bids to climb the 8,611-metre peak after the avalanche struck the Camp III sweeping all climbing equipment this morning.

“All climbers and climbing Sherpas are safe as they had already returned to lower camps due to the bad weather,” Sherpa quoted his clients as saying over phone from the mountain.

According to Sherpa, there were more 100 climbers including as many as 25 Nepali Sherpas heading to the world’s second highest peak this season. All members and climbing Sherpas were safe, he said.

“K2 United can confirm an avalanche wiped out all the tents at camp II but all teams are ok,” the K2 United Expedition posted on its Facebook Page.

Most of the teams had left the base camp on July 10 for higher camps, but the bad weather forced them to retreat afterwards.

“The avalanche struck the Camp III as climbers were waiting for next summit window (expectedly July 24),” Sherpa said, adding that the climbers had already given up two summit pushes after July 10 due to bad weather conditions.

Jamling Bhote (52) and Mingma Dorchi (44), who had already scaled the world’s most difficult mountain twice, also attempted to climb the Mt K2 thrice for a world record this season.

Among other climbers, Ruben Payan of the Powerful Human Expedition and Vanessa O’Brien, who aims to become the first American-British woman to ascend the killer mountain, had also reached the Northern Pakistan for the climbing attempt this season. Vanessa was a part of the K2 United Expedition.

It is considered that Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli became the first climbers to stand atop the summit July 31, 1954.

Mountaineer Alan Arnette, who is also the oldest American to successfully climb the Mt K2 at the age of 58 in 2014, posted on his widely-read webpage that only 355 people have summited the world’s second highest peak till date.

“The K2 is the most challenging of all the Karakoram 8000ers and it is significantly more difficult and dangerous than the Mt Everest,” the Colorado-based climber posted.