GI Summits and Loss of Communication with Spanish Climbers

Seven Spanish climbers started summit bid from C3, hoping to reach the top of GI on July 21st. Witnessing a change in weather Oscar Cadiach and Patxi Goni retreated from around 7000m. Remaining five continued to the summit. It's reported that Xevi Gomez, Alvaro Paredes and Abel Alonso made it to the top in the afternoon.  Alfredo Garcia and David Lopez also turned back shortly before the summit.

The dramatic situation started unfolding when on 22nd July morning, Alfredo Garcia called home telling that he couldn’t find the way back to C3 and spent the night in open. He needed coordinates of C3 to take guidance from GPS device. His family arranged the required data and sent it to Alfredo, who later managed to reach C3, safely. Today (July 23rd), he stayed in C3 because of adverse weather. It's reported that he had sufficient food to spend a days in C3.

David Lopez remained out of contact for long but eventually reached C1 on 22nd July afternoon. He was tired but fine. Desnivel reports that, David has made it to Base (Camp), now.

The last communication with Xevi, Alvaro and Abel took place, when they shared the summit news via SMS from GI top. (Edit: It's reported that, they tried to call on Monday 22nd July, when they were at 7400m. The call ended abruptly, probably because they ran out of battery.) As per plan, they would have descended to C2 and re-establish the communication with BC and home teams. The three climbers haven't any contact, until now. It can be hoped that they are sheltering somewhere above C2 because of bad weather and communication is lost due to phone/battery related issues. Nonetheless, assistance is being arranged for them.

Oscar Cadiach has shared details about an attempt to reach the climbers. David Polo, Arkaitz Mendia, Alex Galiano and Argentine Mariano Galvan are in currently in C2 waiting for an improvement in weather to ascend the Japanese Corridor and reach C3.

Update-1 (25-July-2013): 1040hrs PST
It's the fifth day since Xevi, Abel and Alvaro summited GI, fourth day since loss of communication and third day since rescue mission was launched. Unfortunately, there is nothing to update! Until yesternight, situation was exactly the same - no communication with trio, Alfredo in C3 and rescue teams in C2 & C1. Depending upon meteorological conditions, rescuers were all set to go up. Helicopters are also ready for search.
As per last communication, Alfredo Garcia seems fine in C3, with no signs of frostbite or altitude sickness.

Update-2 (25-July-2013): 1345hrs PST
Eventually, after days of distress and dismay, positive news comes from Gasherbrum I. Argentine climber Mariano Galvan reached C3 this morning and assisted Alfredo Garcia's descent to C2, where they reached at around 1300hrs local time. It's expected that he will continue to Base Camp.

Search continues for Xevi, Abel and Alvaro, who are still out of contact. Good weather is reported from the region, which may increase the chances of an aerial search. It appears that the helicopter hasn't reached the mountain, yet.

Update-3 (27-July-2013): 2130hrs PST
As per an official press release, Xevi Gomez, Alvaro Paredes and Abel Alonso have been presumed dead. Having spent too much time at altitude without food and shelter, chances for their survival were non-existent. Apart from search conducted by climbers, sherpas and porters, two helicopters spent several hours looking for missing climbers on July 26th. The search operation was discontinued yesterday evening. They will probably remain on 'Hidden Peak', forever.

May the departed soul of deceased climbers rest in peace. My condolences to the families of brave men.

Going up the Japanese Corridor on GI; Source
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