A climber from Northern Ireland has described the moment he was forced to abandon a winter summit attempt on the world’s second-highest mountain.
Three others are still missing, presumed dead, from the same expedition on K2 in Pakistan.
A number fell to their deaths and 10 members of the expedition were removed by helicopter with sickness or frost injuries.
K2 NEWS: Alas, Noel Hanna from Co. Down had to abandon his summit push on K2 today along with the rest of the Seven Summit Treks team in extremely cold conditions. So close to the first ever winter ascent of an 8000m peak by a climber from the island of Ireland. An amazing effort pic.twitter.com/pTW6ISHtjj
— Paul Devaney 🏔️ (@Irish7Summits) February 5, 2021
Noel Hanna from Dromara in Co Down had been hoping to become the first person from Northern Ireland or the Republic to climb the peak in winter.
He told the BBC’s Good Morning Ulster programme: “I thought, it is not for me, my life does not mean that much to get to the summit of K2 and we turned around and got back to high camp.”
He was at around 8,000 metres altitude and the temperature was minus 60 or minus 65, with eight or 10 hours of climbing still to go.
He was forced to retreat due to the weather conditions.
On Monday morning, he was on a 100km trek out of base camp and among only five walking out.
Seven weeks ago, on the way in, there were 19 or 20.
Mr Hanna said: “Those are the dangers that you take when you go on the mountain, that is what you have to think of – everybody going in is not going to come back out.
“A lot of it is making your own choices of when to turn around and when not to keep going.”
His wife Lynne said she was relieved.
“I always knew in the back of my mind with Noel that he has the experience to understand those limitations and the limitations of others around him,” she said.
“I was very relieved to hear from him.
“He made the right decision.”