A family member has confirmed the deaths of New Zealand father and son mountaineers Marty and Denali Schmidt, believed to have been swept away on the world’s second tallest mountain, K2.
The pair, aged 52 and 25, went missing on Friday while attempting to scale the 8611-metre peak in Pakistan.
Marty Schmidt’s daughter, Sequoia Di Angelo, who lives in the US, confirmed that her family members had perished.
“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,” she tweeted.
Two Sherpas discovered the Schmidts’ campsite, 7400m up the mountain, wiped out by an avalanche, after severe snow conditions on Friday forced six other climbing teams back to the mountain’s base camp.
Marty Schmidt was one of New Zealand’s most successful climbers and spent his life climbing the world’s highest peaks, often without oxygen.
Reports from K2’s base camp said the pair were “almost certainly” hit by the avalanche on Friday night as they slept in their tent.
Manzoor Hussain, chief of the Alpine Club of Pakistan which co-ordinated the expedition, says he believes the Schmidts overestimated themselves.
“When everybody else was trying to descend and call it a day because of the avalanches they should have also descended to base camp,” he told Radio New Zealand.
New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Sam Newton described Marty as a passionate and enthusiastic mountaineer with extensive experience.
“He was arguably New Zealand’s most successful high altitude climber,” he told AAP.
Mr Schmidt had been climbing for 38 years and worked as a guide on mountains around the world.
He believed in experiencing the “real adventure” of mountaineering and climbing in small groups with no Sherpas, oxygen, huts or helicopters.
Born in the US, he moved to New Zealand in 1988 and was an active participant in the New Zealand climbing industry.
He had attempted the summit K2 twice before.
Mr Schmidt had climbed Mt Everest twice and some of the world’s tallest peaks without oxygen, including five peaks of more than 8000m.
He has climbed and guided on the world’s Seven Summits (the seven tallest mountains on each continent) many times.
His son Denali is named after the highest peak in North America.