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Renowned Scottish climber dies in avalanche on K2, charity says

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A world-renowned Scottish climber has died in an avalanche while attempting a new route to the summit of K2 for a children’s charity.

Rick Allen, 68, from Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, was climbing to raise money for the Partners Relief and Development charity when he was caught in an avalanche on the mountain’s southeast face, on the border of China and Pakistan.

His two climbing partners, Spaniard Jordi Tosas and Austrian Stephan Keck, were rescued from the world’s second-highest mountain without major injuries.

Rick Allan (R) with his climbing partner Sandy Allan on the Mazeno ridge in Pakistan
Image: Rick Allen (R) with his climbing partner Sandy Allan on the Mazeno ridge in Pakistan

A statement from the charity said: “It is with great sadness to announce that Rick Allen, a member of the board of Partners Relief And Development UK and also a great friend, has died while attempting a new route on K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.

“Rick, a world-renowned veteran mountaineer, was caught in an avalanche on the southeast face but fortunately his two climbing partners survived.

“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, and worked as a key member of the leadership of Partners Relief And Development UK for several years, campaigning for free, full lives for children affected by conflict and oppression.

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“All members of the board send our condolences to Rick’s family.”

Mr Allen was previously presumed dead in 2018 after falling from an ice cliff during a solo climb to the summit of Pakistan’s Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain on Earth, at 8,047m.

His rucksack was eventually spotted by a cook at the mountain’s base camp then a drone was used to locate him and to guide rescuers to him.

Allen was attempting a new route up K2 (in the distance) after falling from an ice cap on Broad Peak (R) in 2018
Image: Allen was attempting a new route up K2 (in the distance) after falling from an ice cap on Broad Peak (R) in 2018

An online fundraising page, shared with fellow experienced mountaineer Jerry Gore, said they were both attempting an ascent of K2 to draw attention to the needs of charities they were closely associated with.

It said Mr Allen was raising money for Partners UK as it focuses on meeting the health and educational needs of refugee children displaced from their homes in Myanmar by the recent coup.

Mr Gore, who has type 1 diabetes, was raising money for Action4Diabetes, which helps distribute insulin to children with diabetes across southeast Asia.

When the climber’s death was announced, they had raised £170 of the £10,000 target but that quickly rose to £1,000 and donations can still be made.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The British High Commission in Islamabad is aware of reports that a British citizen has died climbing K2 and stands ready to assist.”