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Czech climber goes missing on Broad Peak

August 03, 2012


ISLAMABAD, Aug 3: Tragedy struck the expedition to the 12th highest mountain in the world, Broad Peak, on Friday when its Czech member went missing.

“We know he has slipped climbing the 8, 051 meter mountain,” said Member Alpine Club Pakistan Karrar Haidri adding that more news was still awaited about what had become of the climber. There was fear among the mountaineering community for the life of the Czech climber. The Alpine Club was still trying to confirm his full name.

The Czech climber was not the first climbing death on Broad Peak. On Thursday, Mohammad Baqir, who was accompanying a British expedition on the Broad Peak, also fell to death during the descent.

ACP said that Mohammad Baqir, 35, was a few hundred meters from the Base Camp III at 26, 000 feet when he slipped and fell while crossing a water channel.

In 2003, Mohammad Baqir’s brother, Ghulam Raza, was also killed while attempting to climb Lady Finger in Hunza Valley. Mohammad Baqir was a respected name in the climbing world, who scaled five prominent peaks, including K2, Nanga Parbat, and Broad Peak.

Karrar Haidri explained how odds stacked up against climbers above 5,000 meters. High altitude sicknesses, loss of diet and even behavioural changes also make climbing difficult.

Meanwhile, another expedition to the Gasherbrum I walked away from the face of death when an avalanche swept an expedition made up of American, Polish, Dane and Iranian climbers.

On July 19, a powerful avalanche tossed the climbers almost a 1,000 feet down. Alpine Club of Pakistan said there were no lives lost.

Rob Springer’s and Louis Rousseau’s were going up the Japanese Couloir when the avalanche hit. Though, the climbers survived, but the expedition was over.

“The great news is that no one was seriously hurt. The bad news is that our summit push ended when a large avalanche swept down the Japanese Couloir, knocking 5 of the 6 climbers down the mountain.

The team took five days to move up from Base Camp to Camp I, spending a night there, then on to Camp II, where they spent two nights waiting for good weather.

With a good weather forecast, the expedition started out around 3am towards the Japanese Couloir and was moving fast, when an avalanche swept down from above them, Rob Springer wrote in his debriefing to the Alpine Club.

“I was looking down at the rest of the team when I felt the initial surge of snow against me. The first feeling was of a small wave against my body. As I turned, the full force of the wave of snow hit me and knocked me off my position. The five climbers below me were quickly knocked down and sent into a freefall down the Couloir. Only one climber who was just to my left and saw the snow coming, was able to dig in his ice axes and avoid being blown away,” said Rob Springer in his debrief.