Update September 1, 2016, 9:20 PST
Friends and family of alpinists Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson are rallying to raise money for a search for the two climbers, who were last seen on the North Face of the Ogre II in Pakistan on Monday, August 23.
The duo began their attempt on August 22 via the Choktoi Glacier and planned to spend five days on the mountain. Their headlamps were spotted about halfway toward the summit on the evening of August 23 by the expedition cook, Ghafoor Abdul. The weather was stable through Tuesday, but snow and clouds have obscured the peak since then.
Local authorities and another climbing team have been searching the Choktoi but have found no sign of the Americans, and friends have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise $100,000 for more search resources.
“Please share with friends, donate if you can, and send positive thoughts their way,” the page says. “We will continue to post updates as they come available and our thoughts and prayers go out to Kyle and Scott for a safe return home.”
Adamson, top, and Dempster.
The Ogre, also known as Baintha Brakk, has a reputation as being one of the hardest peaks in the world. It’s 23,901 feet high and very steep; 24 years passed between the first ascent in 1977 and the second in 2001. But Dempster and Adamson are well acquainted with it: In 2012, Dempster climbed nearby K7 with Hayden Kennedy, took a rest break, and then went back to make just the third ascent of the Ogre in 35 years. He and Kennedy won a Piolet d’Or for the accomplishment (see video, below).
In 2015, Dempster and Adamson attempted the Ogre II, but were turned back when Adamson took a 100-foot lead fall and broke his leg. On a dicey descent, an anchor pulled out and both Dempster and Adamson took a fall and slid hundreds of feet on the glacier.
In the wake of the incident, Dempster wrote a poignant essay about the climb and his first foray into bow hunting elk, in which he said, “When people asked about my summer expedition to Pakistan, I found a myriad of ways in which I could answer. All were true, but some were substantially more brief than others. To family and friends I prefaced the complete experience with, ‘I’m really sorry. I nearly died. I could have killed Scott. It was my negligence, and I promise it won’t happen again.’ I watched as their faces melted from excitement to concern to heartbreak. Tears were shed and I saw their trust in me evaporate.
“Fault in judgment and action call on the individual to own his or her mistake. I’ve apologized. I’m grateful to have learned. And because of that lesson, I’m now a safer climber. I count on seeing my future–all purpose is directed toward staying alive. After all, life is awfully fragile, and something as trivial as a tiny stick breaking in the woods can change its course.”
On Thursday, Black Diamond posted the following to its Facebook page:
“Heavy cloud cover throughout the day did not allow the Global Rescue helicopter to fly into the area on Wednesday. We are currently working with several weather experts to obtain and compile actionable forecasts in order to help determine when the soonest weather window will be in which the helicopter could potentially do a flight.
“Additionally, we have hired a group of porters from the village of Askole to head up the Biafo Glacier, which leads to the backside of Ogre 2, in order to make a visual inspection with binoculars of the area that Kyle and Scott could have potentially been descending. The porters, who left Askole on Wednesday afternoon, are also equipped with extra food, sleeping bags, tent, etc, but the main goal is for them to visually inspect that side of the mountain and relay any information to search logistics team.”
You can contribute to the GoFundMe rescue campaign here.
Photo by Ben Tubby