South Korean goes missing after scaling Pakistani peak
A famous South Korean climber fell into a crevasse and went missing over the weekend in bad weather after scaling another mountain peak in northern Pakistan, a mountaineering official said on Tuesday. "Kim Hong Bin was descending after having reached the 8,047-meter (26,400-foot) high Broad Peak in Pakistan's north Karakoram Range on Sunday," said Karrar Haidri, the Secretary of the Pakistan Alpine Club.
Kim had scaled all of the world's 14 highest summits
With the summit, the 57-year-old Kim had scaled all of the world's 14 highest summits, becoming the first person with disability to do so. In 1991, while climbing in Alaska, he suffered severe frostbite and had his fingers amputated. While descending from the peak with several other mountaineers on Sunday, Kim slipped and fell down the Chinese side of the mountain, according to Haidri.
Disability never became a hurdle for Kim: Haidri
"Since then no information is available about him," the official said, adding that a search mission is being planned. Kim's successes include world's highest, Mount Everest on the China-Nepal border, and Pakistan's K2, the second-highest, which like Broad Peak is also in the Karakoram Range. "Disability never became a hurdle for Kim and did not stand in the way of his passion," Haidri said.
Islamabad's South Korean Embassy was also organizing a search mission
The other mountaineers, who had in vain tried to find Kim, were safe and were descending amid bad weather. The South Korean Embassy in Islamabad was also organizing a search mission, he added.
Haidri refused to comment on reports speculating Kim's death
"We do not want to speculate on Kim's fate," Haidri told The Associated Press, refusing to comment on reports on Twitter that the climber had died. Ghulam Muhammad, the owner of Blue Sky Expedition tour operating company who arranged the expedition for Kim, also confirmed an unfortunate incident when the South Korean was returning to base camp.
Scores of mountaineers visit Pakistan every year to scale peaks
"The organizers of the expedition were in contact with Kim's family and any further information will be shared by his family or by the South Korean officials," he added. Scores of mountaineers visit Pakistan every year to scale different mountains and peaks, located in the country's scenic north. But the sport is dangerous, particularly when a sudden change in weather occurs.
Earlier this year, three climbers died while scaling K2 peak
Earlier this year, three climbers- Pakistani mountaineer Ali Sadpara, Iceland's Jon Snorri, and Chile's Juan Pablo Mohr died while attempting to summit the 8,611-meter-high K2. Their bodies couldn't be traced and retrieved despite attempts by the Pakistani search and rescue team aided by the military.