Russian mountaineer dead after falling from 26,000 ft off Gasherbrum IV in Pakistan

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In a shocking turn of events, an award-winning Russian alpinist is feared to have been dead after falling from one of the world’s tallest mountains in Pakistan and the world’s 17th tallest mountain, officials said on Thursday.

The Russian mountaineer’s probable death could potentially mark the fourth fatality in the Pakistan’s 2023 summiting season.

The 40-year-old Dmitry Golovchenko has reportedly ‘suffered a likely lethal fall’ from the 7,925-metre (26,000-foot) Gasherbrum IV sometime last week, the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) said.

Golovchenko’s partner Sergey Nilov also suffered injuries, but luckily made it back to the peak’s basecamp on Pakistan’s northeast border with China and was rescued out on helicopter on Wednesday, the ACP said in a statement.

ACP secretary Karrar Haidri told AFP the concern was raised by Golovchenko’s wife, whom he was in contact while he was ‘attempting a high-difficulty route,’ and suspected that the veteran alpinist had fallen into a crevasse.

Authorities plan to launch a rescue effort on Friday, he added.

The Kremlin’s embassy in Islamabad confirmed Russian mountaineers ‘encountered certain problems’ on Gasherbrum IV and said it was ‘in direct contact with their families’ in a statement to AFP.

Golovchenko and Nilov won a prestigious ‘Piolets d’Or’ award — also called the ‘Oscars of the mountains’ — in 2013 for their ascent of Pakistan’s approximately 7,300-metre Muztagh Tower.

Golovchenko comes from ‘a family of alpinists’ and had been climbing with Nilov since 2002, his biography on the awards website stated.

The first reported casualty of Pakistan’s summer climbing season was Polish national Pawel Tomasz Kopec, who died in July by suspected altitude sickness while descending 8,125-metre Nanga Parbat.

A Japanese national also reportedly fell to his death while climbing a never-scaled mountain in northern Pakistan in August this year.

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