Climbers managed to reach the top of the world's second-highest mountain in winter for the first time in January, but no more will be able to attempt it. Pakistani authorities on Wednesday suspended all winter ascents of K2, effective immediately, after three climbers went missing while attempting to scale the 28,250-foot peak amid harsh weather. Ali Sadpara, 45, of Pakistan; John Snorri, 47, of Iceland; and Juan Pablo Mohr, 33, of Chile were last seen midday Friday about 1,000 feet from the summit, reports the New York Times. They were at the Bottleneck, a steep and narrow gully considered to be the toughest part of the climb, per Reuters. The trio's support team hasn't received any communications from them, and bad weather has plagued the search, which was halted on Monday as heavy clouds enveloped most of K2.
Since then, no helicopters have been able to fly, says Karrar Haidri, a rep for the Alpine Club of Pakistan. He said about two dozen climbers from various countries who were trying to scale K2 were heading back to their base camps after the immediate suspension of winter expeditions. Authorities are meeting Wednesday to decide how to handle the situation amid continuing bad weather. At K2, winds can blow at more than 125mph and temperatures can drop to minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit. The AP reports Sadpara's son Sajid Ali Sadpara, who began the climb with his father but was forced to abandon the summit attempt after his equipment failed, has said only a miracle could bring the climbers back alive. The men had previously attempted to reach the summit in December. (At least two men have fallen to their deaths on K2 this winter, including Sergi Mingote.)