Monday, July 29, 2013

Marty and Denali Schmidt Reported Missing on K2

Around 21 climbers with Sherpas and high altitude porters left BC on July 24th, hoping to reach the summit on 28th. However, excessive snow and avalanche risk forced everyone, but two climbers, to retreat from C2 (6600m) and eventually abandon their climbs for this season. It was reported that Kiwi father/son Marty and Denali Schmidt continued climbing to C3. Now, from Japanese Expedition's recent report, it appears that the two climbers, who were still on the mountain, are missing at the moment.

http://www.macpac.co.nz/media/news/cache/720x1000/e5c3f25dbe2a3021345b55270d5894a1/Marty-4.1369111589.jpg
Martin Walter Schmidt (Marty); Source

As per Alpine Club of Pakistan press release, Marty and Denali safely reached C3 (7400m) before contact with them was lost in the afternoon of July 26th. It's reported that on July 27th, a Sherpa was sent up from BC to investigate the matter. The Sherpa reached C3 on July 28th afternoon, but couldn't find the two climbers in the Camp. The tent seemed damaged, apparently after being hit by an avalanche. It's said that climbers' ice axes and crampons were intact.

Search for the missing climbers will resume today (July 29th).

Update-1 (29-July-13): 1000hrs PST
British climber Adrian Hayes has shared the following message from K2 Base Camp, a while ago.

"K2 Update - Tragedy discovered at Camp 3 as avalanche kills New Zealanders. Our fears on the fate of New Zealand mountain guide Marty Schmidt (53) and his son Denali (25) – 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. As Marty’s last radio communication took place Friday night from the camp, the avalanche almost certainly occurred that night as they slept in their tent.

The deaths of a father and son is a tragedy in itself but compounded even further by the fact that Marty and Denali (pictured climbing to Camp 2 last Thursday) - who were great people that we all got to know very well in the close knit community of K2 Base Camp - were very well known, highly experienced and extremely strong mountaineers, the last people many would expect to be killed on a mountain.

Sadly, at times the mountains do not differentiate between ability and experience, least of all K2. The poignancy of the tragedy is not lost in that, had the rest of us not turned back that day - including Marty and Denali's Australian team mate Chris Warner - we also all would have been sleeping at Camp 3 when the avalanche struck.

In mountaineering, there is often a very thin line between life and death and here was yet one more occasion. 6 teams came down and are alive and well, one team went up and are tragically dead. On behalf of all of us remaining at Base Camp, our sincerest condolences to their family and may Marty and Denali rest in peace. Posted with the full co-operation and agreement of Chris Warner."


Update-2 (29-July-13): 1600hrs PST
With reference to details coming from Base Camp, the home team confirms that both Marty and Denali Schmidt have been killed by an avalanche. The two will remain on the mountain, they loved and respected.

Marty and Denali Schmidt

Marty (53) was an expert mountain guide, who has been in this field since 1975. Denali (25) just graduated from college and joined his father on Broad Peak and K2 Expedition.

"On May 18, 2013, our son Marty summited Everest again," wrote Mathilde Apelt Schmidt (Marty's mother, who is 92). "We are very proud of him. Now he is off to climb K2 with son Denali. Denali just graduated from San Francisco Arts collge and we are very proud of him, too."

Marty and Denali in New Zealand (1991)
Both Marty and Denali were duel citizens  of USA and New Zealand.

Denali Schmidt with sister Sequoia Di Angelo
Video about Denali and Marty's Alaskan adventure can be viewed here. (All Photos shared by Sequoia Di Angelo)

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