Father-Son Team Presumed Dead on K2

After avalanche takes out camp

    Photo: Stuart Orford/Flickr

A father and son climbing team is presumed dead after an avalanche wiped out Camp III on K2. Marty Schmidt, 53, and his son Denali, 24 were discovered to be missing on Friday after heavy snow and avalanche danger forced the 19 other climbers on the mountain to retreat. On Sunday, two Sherpa climbers discovered their camp had been taken out by a slide. Since the Schmidts' last communication with Base Camp was on Friday night, according to Climbing, they are believed to have been sleeping when the avalanche hit.

“The deaths of a father and son is a tragedy in itself," fellow K2 climber Adrian Hayes wrote in a blog on the incident, "But compounded even further by the fact that Marty and Denali—who were great people that we all got to know very well in the close-knit community of K2 Base Camp—were very well known, highly experienced, and extremely strong mountaineers, the last people many would expect to be killed on a mountain."

Marty Schmidt, 53, was a former Air Force pararescueman who had 38 years of experience as a mountain guide; Denali, 25, was a recent art school graduate who had been party to many of his father's expeditions. Besides tackling K2, the pair climbed a new route on Denali and summited Mt. Foraker in 2011.

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