GILGIT: Six foreign climbers, belonging to two expedition groups, were hit and injured by falling rocks during their attempt to scale K2 — the world’s second highest mountain — in harsh winter, while two Pakistani climbers abandoned the Nanga Parbat mission on Tuesday after snow avalanches destroyed their camps.
Three of the six injured have been shifted from K2 base camp to the Combined Military Hospital in Skardu by army helicopters in last two days, as the three other foreigners who suffered injuries while scaling K2 decided on Tuesday to return to the base camp.
Speaking to Dawn, Elena Laletina, official secretary of the one of the teams Russian K2 expedition 2019, said that three members of her seven-member team — Dmitry Muraviov from Kazakhstan, Konstantin Shepelin from Russia and Michael Danichkin from Kyrgyzstan — left the expedition after being hit by a rock at their camp-1 at 6,000 metres. She said all the three started scaling down on Tuesday to return to the base camp.
Other team members — Artem Braun and Roman Abildae from Russia, Tursunali Aubakirov from Kazakhstan and Vassiliy Pivtsov from Kazakhstan — had reached 6,800 meters altitude where they set up a camp, she added.
A member of the other team, Waldemar Kovalevsky from Poland, was hit by a piece of rock on Monday at an altitude of 6,000 metres. He reached back to the base camp from where he was taken to Skardu in an army helicopter on Tuesday. Two other members of his team were shifted to the Skardu CMH on Monday as they had been hit by a falling rock near the base camp.
According a press release issued by the ISPR, the army on Monday rescued two mountaineers, Jon Barredo and Eva Robles, from Spain. The rescue mission was undertaken by army aviation helicopters under extreme weather conditions.
Asghar Ali Porik, the tour operator of the both expedition groups, told Dawn that the climbers received minor injuries. They were under treatment at the hospital where their condition was said to be out of danger.
Meanwhile, two Pakistani climbers quit the Nanga Parbat expedition after avalanches buried the tents of their team at camp-2 under snow, compelling all four team members to return to the base camp.
They said they would recover at the base camp to start their adventure again before the end of February.
Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2019