Feineler Elias who died in Pakistan in a file photo. Image Credit: Social media

ISLAMABAD: An Austrian mountaineer was killed while his female colleague and a local guide were seriously injured after they were hit by an avalanche on Thursday morning in District Hunza of Gilgit Baltistan (GB).

According to details, the Austrian duo — Feineler Elias and Kerber Romona — along with their guide were attempting to climb an unexplored and unclimbed peak in the Shimshal valley when they were hit by an avalanche.

Karrar Haidri, Secretary of Alpine Club of Pakistan on Friday confirmed the death of Feineler Elias. Elias’ fellow national Kerber Romona and a local guide Daulat Shah were seriously injured in the unfortunate incident, said Karrar Haidri.

The climbers had started the upward journey at around 6 in the morning Thursday and were at the altitude of about 4,792 metres trying to scale a peak in Shimshal Valley when an avalanche hit them at around 9:30am. Out of the four local guides who were accompanying them, Shah Dualat was injured in the incident, said Haidri.

Immediately, after the incident was reported, local volunteers and the district administration teams started a relief and rescue operation.

The local tour operators have sent a request to the Pakistan Army for airlifting the body and the injured; however, according to the officials, the helicopters would depart only if weather permitted.

The two Austrian mountaineers had started trekking Gojaraf in Shimshal on September 28.

They were supposed to return on October 4, however, the schedule was changed due to inclement weather. The climbers with their local guides finally started climbing the peak on Thursday.

Talking to Gulf News, Karrar Haidri said the injured have been taken to the Gujaraf base camp while the body of the Austrian climber has been wrapped in a protective sheet.

Gilgit-Baltistan is home to five above-8,000 metre peaks— K2 (8,611-metre high), Nanga Parbat (8,125-metre), Gasherbrum-I (8,080-metre), Broad Peak (8,051-metre) and Gasherbrum-II (8,035-metre). The world’s second-highest peak, K-2 is considered the most tricky and treacherous due to its difficult terrains and windy tracks.

Mountaineers across the world visit Pakistan’s northern areas to climb these hills, however, their expeditions sometimes turn into a nightmare resulting in deaths and injuries due to treacherous terrain, rough conditions and unpredictable weather.

Last year, three climbers including Pakistan’s iconic climber Muhammad Ali Sadpara, Iceland’s John Snorri, and Chile’s Juan Pablo Mohr were killed while attempting to scale K2 peak.

In 2018 too, an Austrian mountaineer Christian Huber was killed at the height of 5,900 meters when an avalanche struck the climbers’ tent on Ultar Sar Peak in the Hunza valley.