The bodies of at least five mountaineers, including famed Scottish climber Alison Hargreaves, will be left where the hikers died near the summit of K2, the world's second-highest peak.
"We just can't bring them down because it is very treacherous . . . it is impossible," Nazir Sabir, an organizer of the lost expedition, said Friday in a telephone interview from the northern mountain town of Skardu.The body of Canadian climber Jeff Lakes, another of those missing, was buried in snow about 21,780 feet up K2 in the Karakorum Mountains.
Lakes apparently died of altitude sickness at Camp 2, 21,660 feet up the mountain, Sabir said. He said Lakes returned there alone after getting sick at Camp 4, which at 26,400 feet is the final camp before the summit.
It remained unclear Friday how many climbers were caught in the avalanche Sunday that killed Har-greaves.
Sabir said seven climbers - Hargreaves of Spean Bridge, Scotland; Lake of Calgary, Canada; Rob Slater of Boulder, Colo.; Bruce Grant of New Zealand and three unidentified Spaniards - left the base camp at K2 on Aug. 11 to attempt the summit.
All but Lakes remain missing, he said. U.S. Embassy officials in Islamabad confirmed five were missing, including Slater.