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Traces of two missing Japanese climbers found in Gilgit Baltistan

A view of snow-capped mountains and glaciers from the Concordia camping site in the Karakoram range of Pakistan’s northern Gilgit mountain. — AFP/File

Army helicopters found “traces” of the two mountain climbers from Japan who went missing Wednesday while attempting to summit 7,027-metre Spantik Peak, also known as Golden Peak, in the Karakoram range, but their whereabouts and condition remains unknown, according to a statement released from Karrar Haidri, secretary of Alpine Club of Pakistan.

“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,” the statement added.

The missing Japanese hikers Ryuseki Hiraoka and Atsushi Taguchi, were climbing Alpine style, which involves climbing quickly with minimal gear and no fixed camps, the statement read, adding “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.

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