Two rescued after 11 Killed in K2 Avalanche
UPDATE Aug. 4, 2008:
Two Dutch climbers have been airlifted from the site of a K2 ice avalanche that killed 11 climbers over the weekend.
GILGIT, Pakistan (AFP) — Helicopters airlifted two frostbitten Dutch climbers from K2 on Monday, but had to halt efforts to save an Italian stranded by an ice fall that killed 11 men on the world's second highest peak.
"His condition is not good. He has some bruises and frostbite and exhaustion," Akram told AFP.
"If he is unable to get to advanced base camp tomorrow, from where a helicopter can evacuate him, then he might be sling-lifted. But this is a very technical operation and needs a lot of preparation," he said.
Italian embassy spokesman Oddo Sergio said Confortola "has some problems with his arms and legs due to freezing. An attempt will be made tomorrow to rescue him."
However Agostino Da Polenza, a member of Confortola's team based in northern Italy, said that his "voice sounded strong and clear" after talking to the climber on a rescuer's telephone, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.
Update: the death toll stands at 11 after an avalanche took out a fixed line.
Eleven climbers died on Pakistan's K2 mountain after an ice avalanche knocked down a fixed rope climbers were using to reach the summit, a mountaineer at their base camp said Sunday.
Among the dead was a sherpa who had gone up K2 -- the world's second tallest mountain -- to help in rescue efforts, said mountaineer Fredrik Strang, who also assisted in the rescue attempts.
An avalanche has killed at least nine climbers on K2, the world's second-highest mountain. K2 is considered a more difficult technical climb than Everest, and is also beset with extremely unpredictable weather.
There are fears more climbers could have died in the accident in northern Pakistan, or still be trapped, but others did reach safety.
A chunk from an ice pillar snapped away on Friday and broke ropes on a feature called the Bottleneck, reports said.
Only a few hundred people have climbed K2 and dozens have died in the attempt.
The weather is thought to be fair but the Pakistani military is still unsure whether a rescue attempt can be made at such an altitude.
Renowned climber Reinhold Messner told the BBC the situation was "very critical" and those above the Bottleneck might have to try to climb down on the Chinese side to survive.
To date, fewer than 200 climbers have summited the world's second highest peak – 198 total. 53 have died. K2's overall fatality rate is thus 26.77% or nearly three times that of Everest’s overall fatality rate of 9%
K2 takes its unassuming name from the surveyor’s notation of the peak – “K” for Karakorum, and “2” because it was the second peak listed. It is known locally as “Chogori” – meaning “Great Mountain,” and as “Mount Godwin-Austin,” the name of the man who directed surveyor. But K2 has earned another name more descriptive of its legacy - “The Savage Mountain.” Though second to Mount Everest in height, K2 is considered a more difficult and technically challenging mountain to climb due to the lack of infrastructure (sherpas/rope/O2) and unpredictable weather. Where Everest is a mountaineer’s greatest dream, K2 is a mountaineer’s greatest fear. Thus, K2 today holds the title "The mountaineer’s mountain."