Avalanche on K2 Claims Famed Scottish Mountaineer Rick Allen

Allen was attempting a new route on K2’s southeast face

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Scottish mountaineer Rick Allen was killed in an avalanche while attempting a new alpine route on K2 (8,611 meters). The 68-year-old from Aberdeen was climbing with Jordi Tosas (SPA) and Stephan Keck (AUT) who both escaped with minor injuries and were rescued by Pakistani helicopters. 

Allen was considered one of Scotland’s most prolific mountaineers. He pushed local mixed climbing standards and received a Piolet d’Or for his first ascent of the Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat (8,126 meters) in 2012 with Sandy Allan. The climb, as described in In Some Lost Place by Allan, was at times a desperate fight.

I began to wonder whether what we were doing was humanly possible. We had climbed the Mazeno and reached the summit, but we both knew that we had wasted too much energy searching out the top in the misty conditions. In among conflicting emotions, exhaustion and elation, we both knew that our bodies could not sustain this amount of time at altitude for much longer, especially now we had no water. The slow trickle of attrition had turned into a flood; it was simply a matter of time before our bodies went into spasm and simply stopped functioning. 

Allen’s final expedition was a charitable one; he raised money alongside Jerry Gore for Partners Relief and Development, a charity who provides emergency relief to communities in crisis events. Following Allen’s death, Partners Relief and Development said in a statement, “It is with great sadness to announce that Rick Allen, a member of the board and also a great friend, has died whilst attempting a new route on K2. Rick died doing what he loved the most and lived his life with the courage of his convictions. Rick was committed to serving the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities. All members of the board send our condolences to Rick’s family.”

Allen was famously presumed dead in 2018 after he fell during a solo attempt of Broad Peak (8,047 meters). He was pinpointed by a filmmaking team’s drone during Andrzej Bargiel’s ski descent of K2.

Allen will be buried at the base of K2 in accordance with his family’s wishes.

Read More: The Edge of Extinction – First Ascent of Nanga Parbat’s Mazeno Ridge