N.Z. dad, son die in K2 summit quest

AFP-JIJI

Two New Zealand climbers hoping to become the first father-and-son team to scale the world’s second-highest mountain have died in the attempt, their family said last week after the pair went missing on K2.

Martin Schmidt, 53, and his 25-year-old son, Denali, were attempting to scale the 8,611-meter peak in northern Pakistan when an avalanche hit on July 26.

Sequoia Di Angelo confirmed that her father and brother had perished, an assessment backed up by a Pakistani official involved in the expedition and Martin Schmidt’s employer.

“It is with great sorrow that I confirm the tragic death of my brother and father, Denali and Marty Schmidt. May their spirits rest at K2. RIP,” U.S.-based Di Angelo tweeted.

Manzoor Hussain, chief of the Alpine Club of Pakistan, which coordinated the expedition, said a series of avalanches took place before they disappeared, prompting most of the climbers to return to base camp.

But the Schmidts, he said, attempted to take shelter at Camp 3, about 7,400 meters up. “I think in this case they overestimated themselves,” he told Radio New Zealand.

“When everybody else was trying to descend and call it a day because of the avalanches they should have also descended to base camp.”