Helicopters to join search for US climbers missing on Pakistan mountain
Improved weather conditions will allow helicopters to join the search Saturday for two American climbers missing after an attempt to scale one of the highest peaks in northern Pakistan, a family spokesman for one of the missing men said.
Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson, from Utah, set out early August 21 to climb the north face of Ogre 2, near the Choktoi Glacier, authorities said.
The two men have not been seen since August 22, the day before a storm hit the mountain, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for their rescue.
A weather window opening up Saturday — the first break in the weather in 10 days — will allow Pakistani military helicopters to join the search, Jonathan Thesenga, a family spokesperson for Dempster, said in a statement.
“We have been in communication with the Pakistan military and they assure us that two Pakistani military helicopters will be starting the search,” he said.
“We owe a huge amount of gratitude to the Pakistan government for scrambling all of their available assets and their commitment to finding Scott and Kyle.”
Five-day climb planned
The climbers’ initial plan included five days for the climb and descent, the Alpine Club of Pakistan said in a statement. “When they did not return on the expected date, the base camp team informed us. We then started communication with all concerned local authorities and the climbers’ families.”
Dempster is from Salt Lake City, Utah, while Adamson lives in nearby Provo, Utah. The two friends tried to summit the treacherous north face of Ogre 2 last year but turned back after Adamson fell and broke his leg, according to CNN affiliate KUTV.
“It’s a remote area in Pakistan, not like you see with teams of people in the Himalayas,” said Thesenga.
The 23,000-foot peak sees intense snowstorms and bad weather this time of the year, complicating search efforts.
The government had previously not dispatched a rescue helicopter because of weather conditions, local official Muhammad Iqbal said.
Ogre 2 is one of the steepest peaks in the region and was ascended only three times between 1977 and 2012, said Ayaz Shigri of the Baltistan Tour Operator Association.