Pakistani official: Scottish climber dies in avalanche on K2

Jul 25, 2021, 1:06 PM | Updated: Jul 26, 2021, 10:23 am

ISLAMABAD (AP) — A renowned Scottish climber died in an avalanche while attempting to scale K2 in northern Pakistan, the world’s second-highest mountain peak, a Pakistani mountaineering official and a British charity said Monday.

Rescuers meanwhile located the bodies of three climbers who died on the same mountain earlier this year, officials said.

Rick Allen, 68, died in an avalanche three days ago while trying to reach the summit along a route that had not been attempted previously on the mountain’s southeast face, said Karrar Haidri, the secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan.

Allen’s two climbing partners survived the avalanche and were subsequently rescued, Haidri said.

Their expedition was aimed at raising funds for the U.K.-based charity Partners Relief & Development, where Allen was a board member. The charity, which works for the welfare of children, confirmed Allen’s death on its Facebook page.

An experienced climber, Allen was involved in an avalanche and was rescued in 2018 when he was scaling Broad Peak, which like K2 lies in the Karakoram Range, along the Pakistan-China border.

“Rick died doing what he loved the most and lived his life with the courage of his convictions,” said the charity’s statement.

Stephan Keck, an Austrian who was one of Allen’s climbing partners, survived the avalanche. He told The Associated Press on Monday that he escaped death miraculously.

He said after the avalanche hit the climbers he opened his eyes and saw that Allen was dead. He said Allen’s body was lying near him because they were connected with a rope.

Keck said he stood up and moved to a safer place as more avalanches were imminent. He said military helicopters came to rescue him and a fellow climber. Keck said he might have died in the harsh weather if he hadn’t been rescued.

Pakistan is home to several top mountain peaks and climbers flock from all over the world to attempt to scale the summits.

Also on Monday, Haidri said rescuers located the bodies of three climbers — Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara, Jon Snorri of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile. They died attempting to summit the 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) high K2 in February. Their bodies could not be found earlier despite several attempts by Pakistani search and rescue teams aided by the military.

Haidri said the Pakistan army’s help was being sought to retrieve the bodies as it was difficult for the rescuers to bring the bodies down from the high altitude. He said the bodies of Snorri and Mohr will be sent to their respective countries.

Last week, South Korean climber Kim Hong Bin fell into a crevasse and went missing in bad weather after scaling the 8,047-meter (26,400-foot) high Broad Peak. A rescue operation to try and find him has been put on hold because of the weather.

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Pakistani official: Scottish climber dies in avalanche on K2