Climber: no chance for Poles missing in Himalayas

AP News
Posted: Mar 07, 2013 6:06 AM

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — There is no more hope of finding alive two men who went missing after scaling a Himalayan peak of more than 26,000 feet (8,000 meters), the head of the team of Polish climbers said Thursday.

The two were in a group of four Poles who on Tuesday completed what other Polish climbers say is the first winter ascent of Broad Peak, the world's 12th highest mountain, located in Pakistan. There has been no contact with the two missing climbers since early Wednesday.

Head of the expedition of experienced climbers, Krzysztof Wielicki, said Thursday there are "no chances at all" of finding alive 58-year-old Maciej Berbeka and 27-year-old Tomasz Kowalski.

Berbeka could be seen for a while making his descent, but then was lost from view and probably fell into an ice crevice, while Kowalski was very exhausted at the peak and probably was not able to make the descent, Wielicki told TVN24 news station over the phone from the Himalayas.

"We are still observing the wall through a telescope," Wielicki said.

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The two other men, Adam Bielecki and Artur Malek, safely reached a camp below the peak on Wednesday.

"We talk very little, each of us is going through this in his own way," Wielicki said. "It hurts, it hurts."

Bad weather forecasts will soon force the team to leave the mountain, he said.

The disappearance of the men is top news in Poland, where people are proud of a tradition of Polish mountaineers scaling all the tallest peaks in the Himalayas.