Search Efforts Ramped Up for Lost Mountaineers in Nepal

      October 27, 2011 11:00

      A rescue team searches for three missing mountaineers, including Park Young-seok, in the Bergschrund area of the Annapurna mountain range in the Nepalese Himalayas on Sunday. /Courtesy of Korean Alpine Federation

      The Korean Alpine Federation is now combing the Annapurna range of Himalayan peaks in Nepal with the aid of local Sherpa guides as efforts to locate a group of missing Korean mountaineers including Park Young-seok were ramped up on Wednesday.

      "We plan to go through the whole area where Park and his colleagues are suspected to have gone missing for three days until Friday with seven rescuers and 12 Sherpas in three groups," the federation said in a statement.

      The KAF suspects that the mountaineers went missing in one of a number of crevasses in the Bergschrund near the southern flank of Annapurna 1, a famous 8,091 m peak in the range. The Bergschrund refers to a certain kind of crevasse -- or hole in the ice covered with snow -- that forms where the moving glacier ice separates from the stagnant ice above.

      Searching the Bergschrund is without doubt a dangerous -- some would say suicidal -- endeavor. Korea's leading mountaineer Um Hong-gil said, "The rescuers have to search with the knowledge and fear that heavy snow or rocks may fall on them at any time and from any place."

      The rescue team already made a preliminary search of the area around the Bergschrund despite the risk of an avalanche and other threats, but it was unable to find any traces of Park and his colleagues on Wednesday. The search resumed at sunrise Thursday.

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