The first break in the weather is imminent in the search for two top alpinists missing in the mountains of Pakistan. Kyle Dempster and Scott Adamson of
Utah, expected down from the Ogre II in the Karakorum around August 26, have been subject of a massive search effort for days.
A statement released midday September 2 by Jonathan Thesenga of Black Diamond, prepared in concert with many from the community and industry, reads: “There
is a confirmed weather window opening up tomorrow morning (Pakistan Standard Time, 8pm EST). This is the first break in weather in 10 days, since Kyle
and Scott were last seen. We have been in communication with the Pakistan military and they assure us that two Pakistani military helicopters will
be starting the search tomorrow morning. We owe a huge amount of gratitude to the Pakistan government for scrambling all of their available assets
and their commitment to finding Scott and Kyle.
“Kyle and Scott’s families are deeply grateful … [W]ithout the help of the Pakistani military and the Pakistan Embassy in Switzerland, we would not be
so well equipped to take advantage of this upcoming, and crucial, weather window.”
An early part of the rescue effort, a gofundme campaign, raised over $100K on August 31 alone, and as of
September 2 is over $180K, with over 4,500 donations.
A statement released by Thesenga on September 1 said that snow and low clouds at Ogre II had kept the aerial search team grounded in Skardu. As
well as a Global Rescue helicopter, the Pakistani military had joined the effort, with helicopters poised to depart from Skardu as soon as weather allows,
according to the statement.
thick clouds had prevented a Global Rescue helicopter from flying into the area August 31 to look for Adamson and Dempster, ages 34 and 33, but a group
of porters hired from the town of Askole headed up the Biafo Glacier toward the back side of the peak, in case the climbers descended that way. The
porters are now in place, carrying tents, sleeping bags and other equipment, but chiefly intending to study the terrain with binoculars and relay any
information to searchers.
The veteran alpinists Jim Donini and George Lowe, with the younger Thom Engelbach, are in the same region, on the Choktoi glacier near Latok 1 and the
Ogre peaks, and are closely involved with the rescue effort. Donini and Lowe, part of a 1978 team known for the high point on the North Ridge of Latok,
are an adjunct part of a Latok 1 expedition led by the German climber Thomas Huber. Huber, Toni Gutsch and Sebastian Brutscher, there for the also
unclimbed North Face, are central to the rescue, with all coordinating from their base camp. (The Americans have in mind a first ascent of a smaller
Donini’s wife, Angela Goodacre (also a climber), tells Rock and Ice, “Jim and George are mainly concerned with guiding the helicopter in, but
the weather has not let up.” The helicopter crew needs to communicate with people on the glacier, since a cloudbank tends to hover over the Ogre II,
impeding visuals, “even when other skies are clear,” she says.
and Adamson left on their climb on the North Face on Sunday, August 21, and were last seen the next day halfway up the wall. Family and friends instigated
a search on Sunday, August 28.
The two were returning to complete a route they had started last summer, descending after Adamson broke his leg high on the peak. Goodacre emphasizes “how
experienced and careful Kyle and Scott are.”
Appeals on behalf of the two alpinists have been shared around the world, and on, for example, websites in Iceland and Patagonia. The climbers have Global
Rescue insurance, but costs far exceed the benefit and must be paid upfront, and timing is urgent.
Says Nathan Smith, a friend of both, “It’s just amazing how many people have been working, pulling out their contacts, asking friend after friend
after friend to chip in, coordinating things, trying to get in touch with their Senator and Congressman, working on rescue teams. I don’t even know half
of the people on the email chains any more. People care. Pretty amazing community we belong to!”
He expresses hope, saying, “People have lasted a lot longer than this. These guys both have the mental and physical ability to hold on and survive this.”
Please see https://rockandice.com/climbing-news/kyle-dempster-scott-adamson-overdue-from-ogre-2-friends-mobilize for more information about both climbers.