Sajid Sadpara summits K2 again, efforts ongoing to retrieve bodies of three climbers

Published July 28, 2021
From left to right: Canadian filmmaker Elia Saikaly, Sajid Sadpara and Nepal's Pasang Kaji Sherpa are seen during their expedition. — Elia Saikaly Instagram
From left to right: Canadian filmmaker Elia Saikaly, Sajid Sadpara and Nepal's Pasang Kaji Sherpa are seen during their expedition. — Elia Saikaly Instagram
Sajid Sadpara holds a plaque in memory of Iceland's John Snorri which will be placed at the Gilkey Memorial. — Elia Saikaly Instagram
Sajid Sadpara holds a plaque in memory of Iceland's John Snorri which will be placed at the Gilkey Memorial. — Elia Saikaly Instagram

Sajid Ali Sadpara reached the summit of K2 — for the second time — along with his teammates Canadian filmmaker Elia Saikaly and Nepal's Pasang Kaji Sherpa earlier today. Wednesday proved to be an exceptionally good day as a total of 24 climbers were successful in reaching the summit of K2, the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) confirmed to Dawn.com.

The K2 expedition was planned by Sajid and his teammates to find the bodies of his father Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Iceland's John Snorri and Chile's Juan Pablo Mohr. The three climbers were last seen on Feb 5 near the Bottleneck on K2 as they attempted to reach the summit of the Savage Mountain.

Read | Muhammad Ali Sadpara: Porter, family man and tough as nails mountaineer

Sajid Sadpara, who was accompanying the three, had to abandon his summit bid after his oxygen regulator malfunctioned and he returned to camp 3. Bad weather thwarted multiple attempts to search for the missing climbers. The climbers were presumed dead on February 18.

In a dramatic turn of events, two days ago, on July 26, the bodies were found by a rope fixing team near the K2 Bottleneck.

ACP secretary Karrar Haidri said that efforts were ongoing to recover the bodies and bring them down. Along with good weather, retrieving the bodies would require at least eight skilled high-altitude porters (HAPs) to bring the bodies down, sources said.

Talking to Dawn.com, Ali Asghar Porik, the head of Jasmine Tours, the company providing logistics support for Sajid’s expedition, said, “For now, the bodies are being moved to a secluded area away from the path which climbers take. Once Sajid gets down from the mountain, a proper plan will be decided and logistics will be arranged.”

“The bodies will be lowered to 6,000m and then a helicopter will be used to bring them down,” he added.

K2 summiteers on Wednesday include Garrett Christian Madison, Conan Tundra Bliss, Robert Kelso Smith, Rebecca Jane Ferry, Jonathan Christian Gupta, Chase Allan Merriam, Kenton Edward Cool, Robert Richard Lucas, Oksana Litynska, Aang Phurba Sherpa, Siddhi Bahadur Tamang, Dorje Gyeljen Sherpa, Pasdawa Sherpa, Kamdorji Sherpa, Mingdorchi Sherpa, Dawa Nupu Sherpa, Lhakpa Wongchu Sherpa, Mingma R Sherpa, Muhammad Ali, Hussain Ali And Zakir Hussain.

Quest to find answers

In a post on Instagram, Saikaly shared the background behind the summer expedition to search for Ali Sadpara and John Snorri. He called the expedition a 'quest to find answers'.

“We were making a film about their winter ascent. We were supposed to be with them the night they disappeared with JP Mohr and we are likely alive because fate intervened as an oxygen mix-up forced PK and I back just below camp 3. Ali, JP Mohr and John never returned. Sajid survived,” he wrote.

“While climbing Everest this spring, I obsessively sought out support to finish our film and honour our friends, yet in the end, we failed to gain financial support, as did Sajid. Unwilling to quit, in the last two weeks, our tiny unit pulled off a miracle and today, a very grown-up Sajid launched the project in the Pakistani press,” he added.

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