It was an incredibly dangerous search just beneath 8300m. John Snorri was the highest of the three climbers, attached to the winter K2 safety lines installed by the Nepalese Sherpas. John, Ali and JP were all on the descent. Ali Sadpara was a few rope lengths below and Juan Pablo a significant distance away near camp 4.
PK sat above me at the anchor monitoring the situation from a safety standpoint. I rely on him as my eyes are generally glued to my electronic viewfinder. I hung off my ascender entrusting my life into the fresh line from summer with my crampons firmly biting into the ice. I filmed the scene as Sajid searched John Snorri for 4 items: a Garmin, a satellite phone, a Samsung mobile and a 360 GoPro.
The slope was between 75 and 80 degrees. One wrong move and that would be it. Sajid spent over 15 minutes reaching in to John’s jacket, pockets and boots hoping to find the crucial items. At one point, he pulled his knife out and began cutting John’s clothing. You can’t imagine how difficult it is to move/search a person once they’ve passed on an 8000m peak. I documented feathers flying as he triumphantly pulled out the most important item: the GoPro. What would it reveal?
This is the only piece of visual information that we have at the moment. A single frame of video which is corrupt that will need further analysis. The date is incorrect, logged as February 7th, 2019.
What do you see? The color of the rope is quite an important detail. The heroic Nepali Sherpas who summited K2 in winter would recognize this rope as they installed it. But where is this? How close to the summit? Can the GoPro 360 reveal the Geo position of the climbers? What else can be learned from this image? Strangely it does not play on any of the devices we have including the GoPro 360 app.
Our work continues here. We jump to no conclusions as we continue to put the pieces together and search for evidence of a successful winter ascent.