He Died Trying to Climb an Unconquered Peak

Japanese mountaineer's climbing partner survived the fall in Pakistan
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 16, 2023 1:35 PM CDT
He Died Trying to Climb a Never-Scaled Peak
Pakistani guide Muhammad Ibrahim shows a picture of Japanese climbers, Takayasu Semba with Shinji Tamura, who was died during summiting highest and unscaled peaks, in his mobile, in Skardu, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.   (AP Photo/M.H. Balti)

A Japanese mountaineer is presumed dead after he and his partner fell about 230 feet while climbing a never-scaled mountain in northern Pakistan, their tour operator and a mountaineering official said Wednesday. The second climber, also Japanese, was injured. The accident occurred Friday afternoon as the pair climbed a mountain in the Andaq Valley, part of northern Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region which is also home to K2, the world's second-highest mountain, said Karakarom Tours Pakistan. The climbers, Shinji Tamura and Takayasu Semba, fell when they had reached an altitude of 17,650 feet, the tour operator said in a statement.

Both climbers were hit by rocks and Tamura then slammed into a rock when he landed, said Karrar Haidri, secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. Semba later said that their rappelling point had broken and that they fell together. He said his partner "was heavily hit" and badly injured. Semba managed to return to base camp to call for help, the tour operator said, per the AP. Late Friday, the base camp crew observed a light on the mountain which was identified as Tamura's headlight.

A rescue team was dispatched and discovered some of Tamura's climbing gear near a crevasse, the operator said. Tamura could not be located despite an extensive search, and the team "assumed that he had fallen into the crevasse," the statement said. "There is no chance of survival in such incidents," said Haidri, the mountaineering official. Haidri said there are hundreds of never-climbed mountains in northern Pakistan, and such mountains are usually named after those who scale them—a draw for ambitious mountaineers.

(Read more mountain climber stories.)

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