DISASTERS

'Killer Mountain': 2 missing climbers feared dead

It's dubbed "Killer Mountain," a name that will be hardly comforting to family members of two climbers lost on the peak in Pakistan since the weekend. Alberto Zerain Berasatei of Spain and Mariano Galacan of Argentina were part of a team that began climbing the world's ninth-highest mountain, Nanga Parbat, this month.

But while all other team members have returned to base camp, Berasatei, 55, and Galacan, 37, are missing, reports Reuters. The owner of tour company Summit Karakoram, which arranged the climb, tells AFP the pair reached a height of 20,000 feet last week but were then forced to spend three days in a tent due to bad weather.

"They pushed for the summit again as the weather got better but lost contact with our staff," he says. The owner adds sherpas believe the climbers are above 23,000 feet on the 26,660-foot-tall mountain, a height he says is "impossible" for rescuers—though Reuters reports rescuers were scouring the mountain Wednesday as poor weather kept helicopters grounded.

A rep for Summit Karakoram tells Xinhua that the "altitude is not considered dangerous, but the two mountaineers chose the hardest route which has been successfully completed only once in history." Hopes of finding the men alive don't appear to be high.

"In such weather conditions and without adequate food supply, survival appears unlikely," says a rep for the Alpine Club of Pakistan.

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