Three foreign climbers feared dead on Pakistani peaks

Three foreign climbers feared dead on Pakistani peaks

ISLAMABAD: Three missing and feared foreign climbers have died in the treacherous Karakorum Mountains in the country’s northernmost tip, an official said on Thursday.

Pakistan is home to five of the world’s 14 “super peaks” – more than 8,000 meters (26,246 feet) high  and the climbing season is now in full swing. A senior government official from Gilgit Baltistan’s tourism department told AFP that Canadian Richard Cartier and Australian Matthew Eakin went missing on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, while Briton Gordon Henderson went missing while climbing up Broad Peak, twelfth.

“We cannot declare them dead until the bodies are found,” the official said.

“We pray to find them alive, but the chances are slim.”

Henderson, a wing commander of the Royal Air Force, disappeared on July 19 over 8,051 meters high Broad Peak, the military said on his verified Facebook page.

“Our hearts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Wing Commander Henderson at this terrible time,” he said.

Eakin and Cartier have been missing since the weekend on K2, nicknamed “Savage Mountain” because of its high difficulty.

The record has fallen this season, according to the Pakistan Alpine Club, with more than 140 people crossing the 8,611m K2, including 20 women.

It has only been climbed 425 times this year, while Everest  the world’s highest peak – has been conquered by more than 6,000 people since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit in 1953.

A video shared on social media by Nepalese climber Mingma Gyalje earlier this week showed a long line of tethered climbers pushing up on the K2.

“This is the scariest part,” he said in an accompanying caption on his Facebook and Instagram pages.

K2 gets its nickname due to its extreme conditions  in winter, winds can blow in excess of 200 kilometers per hour (125 mph) and temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 Fahrenheit).

Last week, Sanu Sherpa of Nepal became the first person to climb the 14 super peaks after conquering Gasherbrum II in Pakistan.

Norway’s Kristin Harila, meanwhile, is trying to break the fastest time to climb 14 super peaks, compared with Nepalese explorer Nirmal Purja’s six-month-six-day record

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