Reaching the peak in the harshest of seasons is considered one of the greatest challenges in mountaineering.
KARACHI, Pakistan — Some climbers call it “the savage mountain.” K2 stands as the world’s second-tallest summit, after Mount Everest, and some climbers consider it even more perilous. Only last month did one group become the first to successfully scale it during winter, braving dangerously thin air and temperatures that can plunge past minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
On Monday, rescuers and mountaineers underscored the dangers of climbing K2 in winter after the authorities in Pakistan said that three climbers had been missing since Friday and that hopes of finding them alive were evaporating. The missing climbers were Muhammad Ali Sadpara, a 45-year-old from Pakistan; John Snorri, 47, from Iceland; and Juan Pablo Mohr, a 33-year-old Chilean.
The authorities said that they would continue the search on Tuesday after halting operations briefly on Monday because of poor visibility. But officials and some family members expressed little hope that the three would be found alive.
“There is no hope for anyone to survive at 8,000 meters after three days,” said Sajid Ali Sadpara, the son of Mr. Sadpara. The younger Mr. Sadpara had been part of the expedition but aborted his ascent at an altitude of 8,200 meters after his oxygen pipe started leaking. “Now the search operation should continue to recover the bodies,” he added.
One additional climber died while descending from C3 to basecamp after deciding to forego the summit attempt.