Australian and Canadian mountain climbers found dead on K2

·2-min read

The bodies of two climbers, one from Australia and another from Canada, have been recovered from Pakistan’s K2, the second-highest mountain peak in the world.

Matthew Eakin from Sydney and Richard Cartier from Quebec had gone missing last week during their descent from Camp 2 to Camp 1. Rescuers spotted the intact and frozen bodies on Tuesday, just below Camp 1, according to The Himalayan Times.

This takes the number of recent deaths on the Pakistani peak to three, as Afghan climber Ali Akbar Sakhi also died on the K2 last week of a heart attack.

Eakin and Cartier were on an expedition with another Canadian Justin Dube-Fahmy, who was documenting their journey on social media. Dube-Fahmy has, however, not yet posted anything about the deaths.

A spokesperson from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said they were providing “consular assistance to the family of an Australian man who died during a climbing expedition in northern Pakistan” but didn’t confirm the identity of the climber, The Guardian reported.

Several tributes have poured in for the climbers over the past two days with many from the mountaineering communities in Australia and Canada expressing their shock.

Australian mountaineer Matthew Eakin (Climb & Wine / Facebook)
Australian mountaineer Matthew Eakin (Climb & Wine / Facebook)

Friends and family members of Eakin said he was an “avid adventurer” who enjoyed mountaineering, skydiving and mountain biking and had previously scaled K2 in northern Pakistan, according to 7News.

He was also the founder of Mountaineers Downunder, a social media group for like-minded adventurers to “discuss equipment, routes, trips and all great things related to mountaineering”.

Eakin’s college friend Bree Shedden said the world had lost a “beautiful soul with a megawatt smile” but was glad he died while fulfilling his “amazing dreams”.

Cartier’s family, meanwhile, said they were devastated. He was a palliative care physician from Quebec who “lived fully to the end”, they told Canada’s CTV.

The 60-year-old doctor was a father of two. His peers and friends said he was “methodical and technical” in his mountaineering.

His friend Tomas Ryan said he had been climbing with Cartier for over 20 years, “and he’s a great, fantastic person as a person and as a climbing partner”.

“It really hurts to know that he’s gone.”

Pakistan’s K2 has been called a “savage mountain” by climbers.

According to a 2021 report by the New York Times, the ratio of deaths to ascents on K2 is nearly one to six. It is considered more dangerous than Mount Everest, where the ratio of deaths to ascents is one to 34.

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