Two New Zealand climbers — a father and son — are feared to have died in an avalanche on K2, the world's second-highest mountain after Everest.
Martin Walter Schmidt, 53, and Denali Walter Schmidt, 25, reportedly went missing at their camp on K2, located some 200 miles north of Pakistan's capital, Islamabad, on Saturday.
They were 24,278 feet up the 28,251-foot-high mountain, located in Pakistan's Karakoram section of the Himalayan mountain range, according to reports.
British climber Adrian Hayes told New Zealand publication The Climber that the father and son team were killed in an avalanche.
"Our fears on the fate of New Zealand mountain guide Marty Schmidt and his son Denali — who climbed up from Camp 2 to Camp 3 last Friday as we all returned to Base Camp due to the dangerous snow conditions — was sadly confirmed last night when two of our sherpas reached Camp 3 to find it wiped out by an avalanche."
When severe snow conditions forced six other climbing teams back to the mountain's base camp on Friday, the Schmidts had reportedly opted to remain behind.
According to Australia's ABC News, Pakistan boasts five of the world's 14 peaks over 26,246 feet and deaths among climbers in the region are not uncommon.
A separate rescue for three Spanish climbers who went missing after scaling the 26,469-foot Gasherbrum-I peak in the same range on July 21, had to be called off, the ABC wrote.
And three Iranian climbers who went missing on July 16 on another mountain are presumed dead.
New Zealand's 3News described Marty Schmidt as one of the country's most successful climbers, who had "spent his life climbing the world's highest peaks, often without oxygen."
He worked as a mountaineering guide around the world during a 38-year climbing career.
The station quoted New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Sam Newton as saying:
"Marty was a highly regarded professional guide and climber. He was arguably New Zealand's most successful high altitude climber."
Outdoor clothing company Macpac said in a statement on its website:
"It is with great sadness that we have received reports from Base Camp that Marty and Denali have been killed on K2 by an avalanche. Our thoughts are with their family and friends in the climbing community across the world."
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