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Broad Peak Avalanche Leaves One Dead, Injured Climbers Wait for Evacuation

Posted on: July 22, 2015


Broad Peak seen from Concordia. Photo from July 2005. [Photo] Florian Ederer/Wikimedia Commons

An avalanche on Pakistan's Broad Peak (8051m) killed one high altitude porter and seriously injured two climbers on Monday, July 20.

The Express Tribune, Pakistan's international newspaper in partnership with the International New York Times, reported the slide occurred below Camp 1 at 11 a.m. The injured climbers, a Japanese woman and a Chinese woman, "were part of an 18-member expedition that included climbers from India, China, New Zealand and Japan."

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Explorers Web reported the climbers, along with Pakistani and Nepali high-altitude expedition workers, were on their way to Camp 1 when the avalanche occurred, sweeping seven climbers down the mountain. An injured Sherpa called Base Camp, and a search and rescue team successfully lowered six climbers to Base Camp where they were treated. Sumiyo Tsuzuki from Japan, of the Summit Climb team, suffered a dislocated shoulder and a compound fracture to her ankle. The identity and injuries of the Chinese climber are not known at this time.

Chris Jensen Burk was at Base Camp when the avalanche occurred, and reported on Explorers Web that a Nepali Sherpa also suffered injuries and was treated.

A Pakistani high-altitude staff member with Seven Summit Treks team could not be located, and is presumed dead. His identity is being withheld pending confirmation of his death, and notification of family members.

Broad Peak is the twelfth highest mountain and one of fourteen 8,000-meter peaks in the world. The mountain lies within the Karakoram Range, in the Gilgit-Baltisan region of northeastern Pakistan, and is part of the Gasherbrum massif located along the western Baltoro glacier between K2 and Gasherbrum IV.

The Express Tribune's Shabbir Mir noted that "cloudy and rainy weather has been persisting in the valley for the past six days, which has triggered flash floods," and that the Pakistan Meteorological Department "had issued an advisory warning of rising temperatures and enhancing rate of melting of glaciers."

Expedition teams at Broad Peak and nearby K2 have been reporting warm, wet weather that has hampered climbing activity. Chris Jensen Burk noted on Explorers Web that on Sunday, the night prior to the avalanche, "As we left the dining tent for bed, a heavy wet snow fell, and it did not stop through the night.... It was so loud at times, it sounded like rain."

Military rescue helicopters remain in the nearby city of Skardu, unable to reach the scene because of continuing poor weather.

Sources: explorersweb.com, tribune.com, summitpost.com

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