by Kraig Becker
A harrowing story is unfolding on Broad Peak in Pakistan where three Iranian climbers are stranded above 7800 meters (25,590 feet). The team ran into trouble on their descent following a successful summit earlier in the week and for the past few days their teammates have been attempting to locate them and render aid. Now, as the situation begins to turn increasingly desperate, other climbers are heading to the mountain with the hope of saving the three climbers before its too late.
Last week the team began their summit bid on the 8051 meter (26,414 ft) Broad Peak along a completely new route up the mountain’s Southwest Face. They had little problem reaching their established Camp 3 but when they began their final push to the top, they started running into difficulty. Poor weather, lots of snow and a tough route all contributed to a more challenging than expected ascent. As a result, the ended up bivouacking for three nights above C3 before Aidin Bozorgi, Pouya Keivan and Mojtaba Jarahi finally reaching the summit last Tuesday.
After completing their climb, the plan was to descend back along Broad Peak’s standard route but that too provided difficult. For some reason the three climbers were unable to descend as planed and ended up having to bivouac for another two days in a pass located at about 7800 meters. The climbers have been in contact via radio with their teammates in the lower camps and as of Friday those other members of the team were attempting to climb up the mountain to deliver food and water to their stranded friends. They then hoped to be assist the trio in their descent and help bring them down safely.
Things moved from bad to worse over the weekend as the other members of the team have been unable to locate their friends. The search teams have now been above Camp 3 and into the pass, but so far there has been no sign of the stranded climbers, who are in dire need of food and water at this point. They are likely weak from their own ascent and now lack the energy to move on their own. If they are not located soon, it is likely that their names will be added to the long list of alpinist who have perished in the mountains this year.
As word has spread to the other nearby peaks, climbers from K2, including Wenger Ambassador Mike Horn, have traveled to Broad Peak to help with the search. Hopefully they will locate the missing men soon and there will still be a happy ending to this story.
[Photo Credit: Kogo]