Monday, July 22, 2024
2024 Season

Lost Japanese climber found dead on Spantik Peak


During a rescue operation at Spantik Peak in Shigar Valley on Saturday, the body of one of the two missing Japanese climbers was discovered, while the search for the other climber continues.

The two Japanese climbers disappeared while attempting to summit the 7,027-meter Spantik Peak. Ground rescuers were initially unable to locate them during a search on Wednesday.

Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi, who were climbing in Alpine style without porters, had reached Camp 2 at an altitude of 5,300 meters between the Shigar and Nagar districts of Gilgit-Baltistan on Monday. However, when another seven-member Japanese expedition team arrived at the camp the next day, they found it deserted.

The team suspended their expedition and returned to base camp to alert officials.

Shigar Deputy Commissioner Waliullah Falahi confirmed to that one climber had been found deceased. “The nine-member rescue team recovered one climber and kept it at a safe place. Now they are searching for the other climber,” he said.

Naiknaam Karim from Adventure Tours Pakistan also confirmed that the body had been found and that the search for the other climber was ongoing. The body had not been identified at the time of reporting.

Nine high-altitude climbers, including four Japanese climbers, began the ground rescue operation on Friday morning. The rescue team reached Camp 2 at 5,300 meters on Friday evening and stayed overnight.

On Saturday morning, team members descended a 300-meter crevice in an effort to locate the missing climbers. Pakistan Army helicopters had previously identified the potential location of the climbers on Thursday.

The body of Ryuseki Hiraoka was discovered 300 meters below Camp 3.

“The rescue teams are doing everything possible to support the search operation and ensure a swift and safe conclusion,” a spokesperson for the Shigar DC’s office said. “We understand the difficulty of the situation and are working closely with the Japanese authorities to ensure a successful outcome.”

The Shigar DC confirmed that the Japanese Embassy in Islamabad and the Japanese consulate in Karachi have been informed of the developments. Pakistani authorities are collaborating closely with them to conclude the search operation safely and promptly.

Karim Shah Nizari, a local mountain guide, had previously said that the chances of survival for the missing climbers diminished with each passing hour under such conditions. He speculated that they might have fallen into a crevice or been hit by an avalanche. “The missing Japanese climbers were attempting in Alpine style, which sometimes requires fixed ropes,” he explained.

“These slopes become deadly with the addition of fresh snow, and Spantik Peak, like other Karakorum peaks, is prone to unstable weather,” he added.

Nizari noted that mountaineers in Pakistan were praying for a successful rescue, but the circumstances of their disappearance made survival unlikely.