Technical spot on K2 would make retrieval of Sadpara and Snorri’s bodies difficult, says Sajid

Published July 29, 2021
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 Sadpara, the son of Pakistani climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, has said that the bodies of his father and Iceland’s John Snorri are on a "technical spot" at an altitude of 8,400 metres on K2 and retrieving them and bringing them down would be very difficult.

Sajid and his teammates safely reached the base camp at 6:15pm today after a successful K2 summit on Wednesday. A decision on the retrieval of the bodies is expected soon after the families of the deceased climbers decide on a course of action.

The K2 search expedition was planned by Sajid and his teammates — Canadian filmmaker Elia Saikaly and Nepal's Pasang Kaji Sherpa — to locate the bodies of his father Ali Sadpara, Iceland's Snorri and Chile's Juan Pablo Mohr. The three climbers were last seen on February 5 near the Bottleneck on K2 as they attempted to reach the summit of the mountain.

Sajid, 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. They were presumed dead on February 18.

In a dramatic turn of events, on Monday, July 26, the climbers' bodies were found by the Nepalese sherpa rope-fixing team of Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition 2021 near the K2 Bottleneck.

“I am on the search mission for my father. All three bodies have been located. However, the bodies of my father and John Snorri are at a technical spot and bringing these down would be difficult,” said an overwhelmed Sajid in a video message released on Thursday.

The young Sadpara went on to add: “We are three team members — me, PK Sherpa and Elia. The bodies are at an altitude of 8,400m. What we can do for now is move them out of the way as they are on the main route. We will try to bury them out of the way.”

Meanwhile, according to an update shared on John Snorri’s Facebook page, Saikaly managed to retrieve Snorri’s GoPro camera, Garmin watch and satellite phone. “Sajid and Elia will head down to BC and there they can charge the gear and hopefully find proof that our team made it to the summit,” the update added.

Confirming Sajid and his team's return to the base camp, Mushtaq Mett, the base camp manager of Mashabrum Expeditions, Treks and Tours Pakistan and Madison Mountaineering K2 Expedition 2021, said, "At the moment, high camps situation is too bad due to rock fall and avalanche."

Earlier, sources told Dawn.com that along with good weather, retrieving the bodies and bringing them down would require at least eight skilled high-altitude porters (HAPs).

“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,” said Ali Asghar Porik, the head of the company providing logistics support for Sajid’s expedition.

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