- Title: Tracks to nowhere: desperate search on Pakistan's "Killer Mountain"
- Date: 10th July 2017
- Summary: BUCHAREST, ROMANIA (JULY 10, 2017) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROMANIAN CLIMBER AND SEARCH TEAM LEADER, ALEX GAVAN, SPEAKING THROUGH SKYPE, SAYING: "Their initial plan was to go to the summit, but from their SMS I understood that they don't want to continue to the summit but from different reasons. I don't know those reasons. They decided that, after climbing the Mazeno Peak, to return to the base camp. So, on 33 (sic - 23) of June, it was the last time I heard from them. OK, I came down to base camp to rest together with my friends and, you know, on the 26th of June, I was started to feel a bit concerned and I was discussing these matters with my cook-assistant in the base camp, you know, because he was also a long-time friend of Alberto. And after discussing with this man, we concluded that we should launch a search mission."
- Embargoed: 24th July 2017 17:50
- Keywords: Matiano Galvan Alex Gavan Alberto Zerain Spanish and Argentine climbers missing on Nanga Parbat avalanche search
- Location: NANGA PARBAT, NORTHERN PAKISTAN; BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
- City: NANGA PARBAT, NORTHERN PAKISTAN; BUCHAREST, ROMANIA
- Country: Pakistan
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents
- Reuters ID: LVA0056P4Y9FR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: PART QUALITY AND AUDIO AS INCOMING
Romanian climber Alex Gavan abandoned his own attempt to scale the world's ninth-tallest peak, Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, without a second thought, to launch a search for two experienced fellow climbers who had gone missing on the mountain.
Alberto Zerain from Spain and Mariano Galvan from Argentina had chosen a daring route to the 8,126 metre (26,660 foot) summit, taking the treacherous 13 km (8 mile) Mazeno Ridge, scaled successfully only once before.
But seven days after contact with the men was lost on June 24, a helicopter flight confirmed to Gavan that they must be dead.
The flight allowed Gavan to see what must have been the men's last tracks, abruptly ending, near their last known GPS coordinates, at the telltale fracture line indicating where a sheet of snow and ice had broken off in an avalanche.
Others are still searching the mountain, and the men's bodies have not been found, but Gavan told Reuters it was certain that they had been swept away and killed, and that to search any longer was pointless and irresponsible.
"Unfortunately, beyond any doubt, it seems they could have not survived the avalanche. Of course, we didn't know at the time, but they were dead from the first day, from the 24th, when we lost contact with them," he said.
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