S.Korean climber feared dead after fall from Pak’s peak

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57-year-old Kim Hong-bin, who is called the “fingerless maverick”, went missing on Monday after falling into a crevasse of Broad Peak….reports Asian Lite News

A South Korean climber is feared dead on Pakistan’s Karakoram range just days after climbing his last 14th 8000 metre-plus mountain.

57-year-old Kim Hong-bin, who is called the “fingerless maverick”, went missing on Monday after falling into a crevasse of Broad Peak, Dawn newspaper reported. Kim reportedly fell on the Chinese side of the mountain after detaching from the safety rope.

Broad Peak is the 12th highest of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains, located in the Himalayas and Karakorum mountain ranges which lie in Nepal, Pakistan, and China.

Haji Ghulam Ahmed, the head of Blue Sky Expeditions expressed hope that the Korean climber would be found. “A search team that was dispatched earlier saw him on the Chinese side. I really hope that is he found,” Ahmed told Dawn.

Reportedly, the Korean climber was found hanging by a rope. However, he appeared conscious and responsive.

“At some point during the rescue, Kim got detached from the rescue rope, and subsequently fell and disappeared down the steep face on the Chinese side of the mountain. Vitaly and the rescue team searched the upper face but could not find any sign of Kim. The rescuers noted the fall down the Chinese face was not survivable,” the Dawn report said.

The report further said Korean diplomats were on their way to Skardu. “A search operation will be carried out in the coming days. Local high-altitude porters (HAPs) will be sent on the mountain,” said Alpine Club of Pakistan secretary Karrar Haidri.

An announcement is expected by the Korean embassy in the coming days.

457 mountaineers climbed Everest this spring

A total of 457 mountaineers, including Sherpa guides, scaled Mount Everest during the 2021 spring season, Nepal’s Department of Tourism said.

The feat was achieved despite reports about climbers infected with Covid-19 and reduced weather windows due to snowfall and winds in the Himalayas caused by two back-to-back cyclones, TaukTae and Yaas.

“After taking briefings from leaders of the expedition teams, we confirmed the number of how many climbers reached the top of Mt. Everest during this year’s spring season,” Bhisma Raj Bhattarai, a section officer at the mountaineering section of the Tourism Department, told Xinhua news agency on Monday.

According to the Department, a total of 182 mountaineers summited Everest this spring, while 275 climbing guides also reached the top of the 8848.86-metre-high peak that straddles Nepal and China.

A total of 408 climbers took climbing permits for Mt. Everest from the Nepali agency, a record high for the spring season.

“More climbers could have scaled Everest had the weather conditions remained friendly,” said Bhattarai.

He added that the coronavirus had hardly made any impact on the mountaineering activities despite reports about climbers being infected with it.

The Department has been rejecting reports about a large number of mountaineers infected with the virus.

“Nobody notified us formally about the Covid-19 infections,” said Bhattarai.

In social media posts, some climbers said they were infected with the coronavirus.

“It is real that a few climbers were infected with the coronavirus, but some climbers who were tested positive for the coronavirus again scaled Mt. Everest after recovering from the illness,” Mingma Sherpa, chairman of Seven Summit Treks, a leading expedition company in Nepal, told Xinhua.

In 2019, 644 mountaineers, including 280 foreign nationals, managed to summit the world’s tallest mountain, while Nepal banned climbing in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This spring, a total of 633 climbers and their supporting staff scaled six Himalayan mountains, including Everest, although the Nepali authorities had issued climbing permits for 16 peaks.

“This is due to bad weather,” said Sherpa. “We had clients for Mt. Dhaulagiri and Mt. Makalu, but they had to return empty-handed due to the bad weather.”(ANI/IANS)

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