Spanish climber feared dead in Pakistani Himalayas

Pakistani HimalayasIslamabad - A Spanish climber is missing and feared dead in Pakistani part of the Himalaya mountain range, his tour operator said on Tuesday.

Luis Maria Barbero, 47, went missing on July 21 when he was about to reach the peak of 8,068-metre Gasherbrum II mountain.

"Though his death has not been confirmed so far but we all know that even a miracle cannot save him, given the severe conditions he has been through and the time that has passed," Amirullah Khan, a spokesman of his tour operator Hunza Guide, told the German Press Agency dpa.

Barbero decided to continue climbing despite warnings from a Swiss climber about rough weather conditions, Khan said. "He said I will not return till I reach the peak."

According to Khan, Barbero indicated his position to his colleagues - nine Spaniards and one French woman - in the base camp with a torch until midnight but signals stopped coming from his side after that.

"We could not send a helicopter for the next three days because of bad weather conditions. On the fourth day there was an avalanche," said Khan. "With that we lost all the hopes for his survival."

Irfan Mohammad, a spokesman of Pakistan's Askari Aviation said the emergency air service has been contacted by the Spanish embassy in Pakistan for a flight to spot the climber's body but the expedition members were not available to guide the mission.

"After giving up on him, the team decided to climb the nearby peak of Gasherbrum I, some 8,035 meters high, and they will be back in a couple of days," Khan said.

"And then they will guide the mission to spot his body, if its not buried under the snow in some deep ravine."

Pakistan's part of Himalayas has some of the deadliest mountain peaks, a constant challenge to adventurous mountaineers.

Last year, 11 climbers died in an avalanche on 8,611-metre K2, the world's second-highest mountain.

In July, a South Korean mountaineer fell to her death during the descent of 8,126-metre Nanga Parbat.(dpa)




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