The search for three missing climbers is set to resume early Monday on K2, the world's second highest Mountain, according to Pakistani officials.
The climbers lost contact with base camp late on Friday, and were reported missing on Saturday after their support team lost communication with them during their ascent of the 8,611-meter (28,250-foot) high K2 mountain, sometimes referred to as ''killer mountain.''
The Pakistani military said a ground search has been initiated both from the K2 base camp and from the air. Helicopters failed to spot the climbers after a second day of searching.
On board the helicopter was Sajjid Sadpara, the son of the missing Pakistani climber, Ali Sadpara, and the Nepali leader of the winter expedition. Also missing are John Snorri of Iceland and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile.
Concerns over survival
Those on the search expressed fears that they may not find the climbers.
''The search team went through the Abruzzi and other routes, we had less weather visibility above C 4 (camp 4), unfortunately, no trace at all," Chhang Dawa Sherpa, their expedition manager, said in a statement.
Sajid Sadpara, son of Muhammad Ali Sadpara, who had last seen his father at K2's final technical difficulty "bottleneck," said the chances of survival were bleak. ''The chances of surviving for two-three days at 8,000 (meters) in winters are very low,'' Sadpara told reporters.
'Extremely challenging conditions'
A military statement said the operation faced "extremely challenging conditions,'' and that the success of the search efforts depends on the weather. Helicopters flew up to the limit of 7,800 meters over the mountain. K2, located in the Karakorum mountain range, is one of the most dangerous climbs in the world. Last month, a team of 10 Nepalese climbers scaled the mountain for the first time in winter.
Although more frequented Mount Everest is 237 meters taller than K2, the K2 mountain is much farther north on the border with China and subject to worse weather conditions. Experts say a winter climb is particularly dangerous because of the unpredictable and rapid change in weather conditions.
lc/aw (AP, AFP)