K2 Survivors Remember Dead





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Published on Aug 8, 2008

And switching gears to Pakistan... Two frost-bitten Dutch climbers remember the colleagues they left behind on the country's treacherous K2 mountain. You may remember last week at least 11 climbers perished on the unforgiving landmark. Here's that story.


Marco van Rooijen, leader of a Dutch climbing team that lost three of 11 climbers who perished on K2 this week, arrived in Islamabad on Thursday. He's joined by another Dutch survivor.

Several teams had massed on the peak for an assault on the summit. At least two climbers died during the ascent, but disaster struck during the descent at steep gully known as "Bottleneck," above 8,200 meters. The ice fall killed three Korean and two Nepali climbers, and left around a dozen more stranded above the Bottleneck, exhausted in the oxygen starved air.

[Marco Van Rooijen, K2 Survivor]:
"My experience in K2 was a wonderful experience because we were successful in reaching the summit after three times and thirteen years. But on the other hand of course it's a disaster that you're losing a team member."

A Pakistani army helicopter rescued the frost-bitten survivors from the slopes of K2 on Monday, leaving behind at least 11 dead climbers.

Though a Serbian climber from another group and a Pakistani fell during the ascent, most of the fatalities resulted from an ice fall soon after climbers who had reached the top began their descent.

Some fell to their deaths, others froze, and some went missing in the thin air above 8,000 meters, known to mountaineers as the "Death Zone" as the body and brain begin shutting down due to a lack of oxygen.

Other survivors were airlifted off the mountain on Monday, but Italian climber Marco Confortola was still at an altitude that was unsafe for the helicopter to fly.

A rescue party reached him on Monday evening and after four nights on the mountain, the stricken climber walked down to Base Camp on Tuesday afternoon.

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