K2 tragedy: Australian climber dies on second tallest mountain

Mountain has fearsome reputation as one of world's most dangerous

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An Australian mountain climber died while trying to scale the world’s second tallest peak, the head of the Pakistan Alpine Club said on Thursday.

Australian officials also confirmed the death of the man, who was trying to reach the summit of K2, a snow-capped mountain rising 8,600 metres over Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

A Canadian man who was also on the expedition is also feared dead, Pakistani media reported, although there has been no official confirmation.

Pakistani rescue services have only said that the second man is still missing.

On Thursday, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the death, saying it was “providing consular assistance” to his family.

“We extend our condolences to his family and friends,” the department said.

The death came as dozens of climbers from around the globe were trying to scale K2.

Karrar Haidri, deputy chief of Pakistan Alpine Club, told AP that the responsibility of recovering fatalities on the mountain normally falls on the climber's relatives.

"Rescue is not possible from the height of that [mountain] but it depends on the family of the dead mountaineers," he said.

But he added that his organisation would be willing to support a recovery effort.

“We extend our condolences … and we are here to support bringing down the body from the mountain, if their family are willing to bring down their body,” he said.

K2, on the Chinese-Pakistani border in the Karakoram range, has a deadly reputation, with climbers most often dying on the descent, where the slightest mistake can trigger an avalanche and become fatal.

Only a few hundred climbers have successfully reached its summit.

In contrast, the summit of Mount Everest has been reached more than 9,000 times.

Updated: July 28, 2022, 8:05 PM
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