Here are some key technical tips for finding missing climbers:
As a junior mountaineering student, I have been studying Himalayan mountaineering adventures for the past 10 years. Detailed research and study of mountain structure, climate change, climbing routes, challenge levels, successful and unsuccessful expeditions and mountaineering accidents have also been part of my study journey.
In the meantime, I have been presenting many research articles in easy to understand and written in the national language so that better information can be accessed to the ordinary Pakistani who loves the mountains.
So in light of my limited but important information, here are a few suggestions regarding the recent K2 crash.
Remember that among the climbing routes of K2, the most preferred route by climbers around the world is undoubtedly Abruzzi Spur or Abruzzi Ridge. To date, more than 75% of missions have been conducted on this route.
Recent K2 winter expeditions have also been carried out on the Abruzzi Route. In addition to this route, another important route is called Cesan Route or Basque Route.
This is actually South-SouthEast Spur. It joins the Death Zone around the shoulder section at Camp 4 of the Abruzzi Route at an altitude of 8000 meters, and the two routes merge. In the picture below, line E represents the same Cesan Route while Abruzzi Route is marked with line F. The problem with the Chase Route is that the whole route consists of a mixed area of rock n ice, which is the most technical and most difficult challenge in terms of climbing.
The rocky portion above the Chain Route is actually on the left side of the popular bottleneck section in the Death Zone and just below the Traverse section. In this regard, some time ago, Nepali Sherpas had expressed that with the permission of the Pakistani authorities, the new route could be improved by installing bolts and ladders to avoid bottleneck section and over-hanging seracs, so that bottleneck in K2’s death zone and To avoid the hazards of seracs.
But there is an abomination in this and that is that climbers will have to do rock climbing at about 8200 meters which will be the most difficult task. Because even if you avoid over-hanging seracs, the risk of rockfall will still be there. My personal opinion is that this improvisation of the route may not be feasible.
Now let’s come to the real issue of what happened to Ali Sadpara’s team. Let’s take a look at it.
First of all, in the history of mountaineering, only about 400 climbers have climbed K2 so far, while 87 climbers have died during this period.
Of the total 87 deaths, 91% occurred in the death zone around the bottleneck section. Climbers who reach an altitude of 7,800 meters at Camp 4 for a summit push begin climbing at about 11pm or later at night and try to enter the Death Zone before the first rays of the sun fall.
Cross the over-hanging seracs and bottlenceck section first as the snow on the serac in the morning is more compact and less likely to break and fall.
If we talk about the speed of the climbers, it is said that it takes about 6 hours to pass through this section and every time you cross the traverse and reach the summit ridge of K2, you are just below the over-hanging ice. Yes, the shadow of death, the shadow of fear and the senses have to be overcome. Climbing is also technical.
There is no such challenge in the Death Zone at any of the 8,000 peaks in the world, not even the killer mountain Nanga Parbat has the climbing technique after 7600 meters. That’s what makes K2 a wild mountain.
According to Sajid Sadpara, son of Ali Sadpara, when he started hallucination in the death zone and his father sent him back due to faulty oxygen mask regulator, it was already 10 o’clock in the afternoon and Ali Sadpara’s team was at 8200 or 8300 meters.
That is, the bottleneck was on the most dangerous part of the section. After crossing the 91 meter bottlenck section, the traverse comes. You have to stick to the ice-wall of the same traverse and walk on the fixed line.
There are a total of three dangers at this point. No. 1 Break a lump of ice from over-hanging seracs or cut a fixed line. No. 2: A rope of the fixed line may break suddenly, and number three is that your foot slips due to exhaustion or lack of focus and you are forced to pull the fixed line due to the friction of your weight.
In all three cases you will hang like a pendulum and since there is more than one climber on the fixed line all will fall down due to the weight. At the very bottom is the rocky portion I mentioned above, above the Chain Route. It is technically called Abyss.
Now what is this abyss? Get to know it first.Where there is air on the earth but there is an empty hide or depth, it is called abyss, while above the earth where there is no air, it is called space.
So when a climber falls into an abyss, he will fall on a rocky or mix ice n rock portion above the Chase Route. And unfortunately what falls there will not be a slide but a hit.
Therefore, in this case, the technique of self-arrest will not work and there will be no chance of recovery, but it is very possible that the immediate death will occur due to broken bones or head injury. And if, fortunately, you survived by falling on the rocks, you will be severely injured.
And exposure. There can be no bivouac in this area because there is no snow. So we will have to suffer a very painful death. That is why many European climbers carry euthanizing injections to avoid such a painful death, to avoid a painful death and to go into a state of drowsiness to get an easy death.
On January 16 this year, the Nepali Sherpas were the lucky ones to find powder snow on the bottleneck and traverse, which would have strengthened the grip of their feet, and they climbed comfortably on the fixed line without slipping and became K2 head.
But perhaps power did not approve, so Sadpara’s team certainly fell victim to one of the three possibilities mentioned above from the fixed line and fell down to the rocky portion. If that happened then the heli search would be useless.
While the biggest challenge for the ground rescue team is that they are not fully acclimatized and secondly, even if they reach the death zone, they will have to cross the bottleneck and traverse to reach the summit ridge. Will look alive or dead.
In the current situation, the failure of three days of continuous heli search means that the missing climbers do not fall into the icefield on the Chase route below 8000 meters, otherwise they are not visible. And if they’re on a rocky portion, then helicopters don’t even have the ability to fly there.
If a miracle is performed by Allah, then one will be thankful and the prayers of the people will be answered. Declared to be persuaded to be dead, then the climbers who came on the K2 expedition this summer and reached the death zone will probably be able to spot the dead bodies of the missing climbers.
Otherwise, the memories of these three brave climbers are part of history.
(Behind the scenes: My purpose in writing this is not to offend anyone at all, but it is a small attempt to enlighten the true spirit of mountaineering with pure good intentions.)
وما علینا الا البلاغ ۔۔۔۔
(Special thanks ۔Research Imran Haider Tahim)