A South Korean climber is feared dead on Pakistan’s Karakoram range just days after climbing his last 14th 8000 metre-plus mountain.
57-year-old Kim Hong-bin, who is called the “fingerless maverick”, went missing on Monday after falling into a crevasse of Broad Peak, Dawn newspaper reported. Kim reportedly fell on the Chinese side of the mountain after detaching from the safety rope.
Broad Peak is the 12th highest of the world’s 8,000-metre-plus mountains, located in the Himalayas and Karakorum mountain ranges which lie in Nepal, Pakistan, and China.
Kim lost all his fingers to frostbite in 1991 while climbing Mount Denali in Alaska. He then took up Alpine skiing, and also competed at the national level in paracycling.
Broad Peak was the final summit in Kim’s quest to climb the world’s 14 tallest mountains, called the “Eight-thousanders” because all are more than 8,000 metres. He climbed Mount Everest in 2007.
Kim also founded an organisation that taught mountain climbing and other outdoor sports to children with disabilities.
Besides, Haji Ghulam Ahmed, the head of Blue Sky Expeditions expressed hope that the Korean climber would be found. “A search team that was dispatched earlier saw him on the Chinese side. I really hope that is he found,” Ahmed told Dawn.
“At some point during the rescue, Kim got detached from the rescue rope, and subsequently fell and disappeared down the steep face on the Chinese side of the mountain. Vitaly and the rescue team searched the upper face but could not find any sign of Kim. The rescuers noted the fall down the Chinese face was not survivable,” the Dawn report said.
The report further said Korean diplomats were on their way to Skardu. “A search operation will be carried out in the coming days. Local high-altitude porters (HAPs) will be sent on the mountain,” said Alpine Club of Pakistan secretary Karrar Haidri.
(With ANI inputs)