ISLAMABAD (AFP) – A missing Russian-American climber has been found dead after falling from the world’s 12th-highest mountain, having refused to turn back in dangerous winter conditions, the company that organised his ascent said Tuesday (Jan 19).
Mr Alex Goldfarb pushed on alone when his teammate failed to persuade him to give up their attempt to scale the 8,051-metre Broad Peak in the Karakoram range on the Chinese border.
“We are deeply saddened to have lost our climbing partner and friend,” said Mr Laszlo Pinter, spokesman for the Broad Peak Winter Expedition 2021. “The helicopter search mission has found his body on Pastore Peak where he is presumed to have fallen off the mountain,” he said in a statement.
It has been a bittersweet week for the climbing community, which saw 10 Nepalese climbers scale K2 for the first time in winter, but also the death of Spanish climber Sergi Mingote on the same mountain.
Mr Goldfarb was attempting a winter ascent of Broad Peak with Hungarian Zoltan Szlanko as part of a two-man non-sponsored expedition.
Their team described the attempt as “the cleanest style without any high-altitude porters and supplemental oxygen”. Mr Szlanko, an experienced climbing instructor and mountaineer rescuer, deemed conditions too dangerous and insisted both should return, Mr Pinter said, but Mr Goldfarb pressed ahead.
Alpine Club of Pakistan spokesman Karrar Haidri said the Pakistan Army found Mr Goldfarb’s body on Monday. Broad Peak is one of the so-called “8,000s”, the 14 mountains higher than 8,000 metres.
It was first climbed in the summer of 1957 by an Austrian team, while a Polish quartet summitted in winter in 2013 but two went missing on the descent and were declared dead days later.
Mr Goldfarb had been missing since Saturday, the same day the Nepali team summited K2, the world’s second-highest mountain and the last peak above 8,000 metres to be conquered in winter.
Despite being famed for their climbing expertise, there has never before been a Nepali climber on the first winter ascent of a peak higher than 8,000metres. K2 is known as the “Savage Mountain” because of its punishing conditions: winds can blow at more than 200 kilometres per hour, and temperatures can drop to minus 60 deg C.
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