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Four Russian climbers were swept to their deaths on Sunday just below the summit of 28,251-foot K2, the world’s second-highest peak. Three other Russian climbers, Irishman Terence “Banjo” Bannon, and Polish climber Jacek Teler descended safely, according to Bannon’s website (http://k2006.banjobannon.com). Despite deep snow on the mountain, the Russians, Bannon, and Teler made it to Camp 4, the high camp on K2’s Abruzzi Spur route, on Saturday. On Sunday, an unknown number of climbers headed for the top. Bannon reported that he was just 50 feet from the summit and that at least one Russian climber was on top when the avalanche slid. The names of the deceased climbers have not yet been released.
Only four climbers successfully climbed and descended K2 this year, two Italians and two young Japanese. They were the first to climb the mountain since 2004.Comment on this story