Accessibility links

Breaking News

Russian-American Climber Found Dead on Pakistan Peak

FILE - American climber Alex Goldfarb, who had to cancel his planned climb of Mount Lhotse, reads a book in Solukhumbu District May 5, 2014.

A military helicopter search team in Pakistan has found the body of a Russian-American man, who disappeared Saturday, while attempting to climb a mountain in the country’s north.

Organizers Tuesday said Alex Goldfarb disappeared as he and his Hungarian teammate, Zoltan Szlanko, were scaling an “easy trekking peak” before “launching a fast, Alpine-style ascent” of Broad Peak, the world’s 12th highest mountain at 8,047 meters in the Karakoram range.

Goldfarb pressed ahead alone when Szlanko, an experienced climbing instructor and mountaineer, failed to persuade him to turn back amid “too dangerous” winter conditions.

"The helicopter search mission has found his body on Pastore Peak, where he is presumed to have fallen off the mountain,” said Laszlo Pinter, spokesman for the Broad Peak Winter Expedition 2021.

"We are deeply saddened to have lost our climbing partner and friend," Pinter said in a statement.

Karrar Haidri, a spokesman for the Alpine Club of Pakistan, said the army located and retrieved Goldfarb's body after a day-long search on Monday.

“Alex is a man who never gives up. He moved to America just after the crumble of the Soviet regime to begin working illegally in a plastic factory and selling his plasma for cash. In just over a decade, he earned 2 PhD’s and was a Professor of Medicine at Harvard,” wrote Levi Goldfarb, the son of the mountaineer, in an obituary about his father.

The past week has been both pleasant and painful for the climbing community across the globe.

On Saturday, 10 Nepalese climbers made history, when they became the first in winter to conquer Pakistan’s K2, the world’s second-tallest mountain at 8,611 meters.

Later the same day, organizers reported the death of 49-year-old renowned Spanish climber Sergi Mingote, who fell more than 500 meters while descending K2.

K2 is known as the "Savage Mountain” among climbers because summit winds reach hurricane force and still-air temperatures are well below -65 degrees Celsius.

Located in the Karakoram range along the Chinese border, K2 was the last of the world’s 14 tallest mountains higher than 8,000 meters to be climbed in winter until this past Saturday.

International climbers visit northern Pakistan every year to scale peaks. This winter, however, more than 50 mountaineers converged on K2, which is about 200 meters shorter than Nepal’s Mount Everest, which is the world’s tallest peak and part of the Himalayan range.

“More than 6,500 people have climbed Everest, while only 337 have climbed K2 to date,” Nazir Sabir, who has scaled both the peaks, told VOA.

Sabir said K2 is rocky and “technically hardest” of all the 14 tallest mountains in the world. It is also known as the deadliest of the world's five highest peaks because about one person dies on K2 for every four who reach the summit.