K2 disaster evacuation hindered by bad weather
Poor weather hampered the efforts of the evacuation on the world's second highest mountain today.
Clouds were built up near K2's advance base camp, so helicopter crews were waiting for them to clear before they could fly in and pick up Marco Confortola, the Italian climber who has severe frostbite. He is apparently the last injured climber in need of resuce, as the other eleven are listed as dead after an ice wall collapsed on them.
Other climbers further up the 8,611-metre mountain were cut off when the ice pulled fixed ropes with it down the mountainside. Clouds rolled in to obscure the descent.
Confortola, 37, reached camp at 6,000 metres by mid-morning after spending four nights at high altitude.
He was helped down by an American climber and Pakistani high-altitude porters who climbed the steep flanks of K2 yesterday and stayed with him overnight as he was too exhausted to go any further.
"He has reached the advance base camp and from there he will be airlifted," Mohammad Akram, a retired brigadier who is vice-president of Pakistan's Adventure Foundation, told Reuters.
"He couldn't make it during the night as he was completely exhausted. His feet have become swollen and his boots are now tight on him."
The team took him to an altitude low enough for a helicopter to attempt an airlift. He is to be flown to a hospital in the northern Pakistani town of Skardu where other survivors were being treated.
"He's getting medical assistance at the camp but we want him here as early as possible so he can get better treatment," said Faizanul Haq, a spokesman for the Italian embassy in Islamabad.
Mists enveloping K2 have made the helicopter flights too hazardous, and so rescue efforts have still not been completed.