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Wednesday July 24, 2024

Traces of missing Japanese climbers spotted in GB

Japanese climbers went missing while attempting to summit 7,027-metre Golden Peak

By Faizan Lakhani
June 13, 2024
This image taken on July 15, 2023 shows a view of K2 in the Karakoram range of Gilgit–Baltistan. — AFP/File
This image taken on July 15, 2023 shows a view of K2 in the Karakoram range of Gilgit–Baltistan. — AFP/File

The traces of two Japanese mountain climbers were spotted by army helicopters Thursday but their condition is still unknown after the pair went missing while ascending the 7,027-metre Spantik Peak, also known as Golden Peak in Gilgit Baltistan.

"The Shigar deputy commissioner stated that they had identified a potential location for the climbers, but it was still unclear if the climbers were actually there, and their health status remained unknown," Karrar Haidri, secretary at Alpine Club of Pakistan said in a statement Thursday.

The Japanese hikers Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi, were climbing Alpine style — ascending quickly with minimal gear and no fixed camps, the statement read.

It further added: "They reached Camp 2 at 5,300 meters on Monday, however, when another seven-member Japanese expedition team arrived at the camp the next day, Hiraoka and Taguchi were not there."

"The team then halted their expedition and returned to the base camp to alert the authorities."

"The Deputy Commissioner reported that the rescue operation took place twice early Thursday around 6:30am, pinpointing the possible location of the climbers at approximately 5,500 meters, between Camp 2 and Camp III," Haidri said.

Pakistan has five of the world's 14 mountains higher than 8,000 metres — including K2, the world's second highest.

More than 8,900 foreigners visited the remote Gilgit-Baltistan region in 2023, according to official figures from the government, where the summer climbing season runs from early June to late August.