Search effort ramps up for Utah climbers missing in Pakistan

Posted at 9:21 PM, Sep 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-01 23:21:19-04

Rescue efforts are ramping up for two Utah climbers missing for days on a Pakistan mountain.

At the same time, a Sandy business got a surprise in the mail from one of those climbers.

Liberty Mountain, an outdoor wholesale distributor, said on Facebook Thursday it received a postcard from Pakistan, written by Kyle Dempster.

He and his climbing partner Scott Adamson began the ascent up Ogre II in the Karakoram mountain range on Sunday, August 21.

When they didn’t return a week later, family and friends launched a search effort.

Liberty Mountain said the post card was postmarked July 26, and arrived September 1.

The front is adorned by a picture-perfect image of Spantik Peak, and the Karakoram mountains.

While some of the message on the back is covered by stamps, it’s clear Dempster is enthusiastically suggesting the president, Gary Heward, consider climbing Spantik. He goes on to write, “Thanks again for the flight to Pakistan. Catch up with you in Sept!”

He signs off with, “Ciao Kyle D.”

Liberty Mountain said in its Facebook post that the card, "shows what a classy, fun, and truly optimistic person Kyle is. We are praying for our boys and hoping for their safe return."

The company Global Rescue is heading up the air search for the two.

So far the problem’s been just getting the helicopter off the ground.

“There`s been a weather system actually that’s moved into the area,” C.E.O. Dan Richards explained, “That`s essentially prevented any kind of helicopter operations.”

He said the Pakistani government is providing the helicopter for the search.

While they haven’t been able to fly over the area Dempster and Adamson had been climbing on Ogre II, he said the weather is supposed to clear up Friday afternoon, and they’re hopeful they can finally take flight.

Richards also said ground teams are planning to ascend the other side of Ogre II from where the pair climbed, in case they summited the peak and descended down a different way.

He said they are, “trying to think what could or might have happened up on the mountain, where might they have gone.”

But, it’s not just weather causing problems.

“The snowpack so unstable and the avalanche risk is so high that they haven`t been able to make very much progress,” Richards explained.

On top of that, there’s no actual way to even attempt communication with the two. He said they had been carrying a satellite texting device, but it got left behind at base camp.

Richards said Dempster and Adamson are well-prepared, and if any team could survive on that mountain, it’d be them.

“We`re just hopeful that these guys are hunkered down somewhere, and that we`re going to be able to prosecute a successful rescue,” he said.