Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Search for Missing American Climbers in Pakistan Called Off

Last week the news broke that American climbers Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson had gone missing while climbing the Ogre II in Pakistan. At the time, we had heard that desperate family members had launched a GoFundMe page asking for donations to help pay for a search and rescue operation, with the climbing community responding by donating more than $197,000 to help with those efforts. But today we get the sad news that the search for the two men has been called off, with both now presumed to be dead.

Dempster and Adamson were last seen climbing the 7285 meters (23,901 ft) mountain, which also goes by the name of Baintha Brakk, back on August 22. At that point, they were moving up the slopes with the hopes of making a summit bid on the a peak that is considered one of the toughest in the world. Their camp chef reported that he could clearly see their headlamps on the ascent, but later clouds moved in, shrouding them from sight.

Since then, there has been no sign of the men, who were due back in Base Camp by August 26. A few days later, the search and rescue operation was launched, although those efforts were thwarted by poor weather.

This past Saturday, September 3, two helicopters were finally able to get into the air and survey the landscape on and around the mountain. The crews of those two teams, aided by mountaineer Thomas Huber, made an extensive search of the routes that Kyle and Scott had intended to ascend and descend by, as well as the rest of the mountain as well. Those searches turned up no signs of the missing men, and by the end of the day the helicopters returned to their base empty-handed.

Experts now believe that considering how much time has passed since they were last seen, and the ongoing poor weather in the area, that there is very little hope that the two men could have survived this long. With that sobering thought in mind, they have now called off further search operations.

This is obviously sad news for the mountaineering community, but more so for the friends and families of the two missing men. My condolences to those who were closest to them.

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