July 22, 2006

Climber found dead in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A search party has found the body of
one of Latin America's leading climbers, who went went missing
10 days ago on Pakistan's Nanga Parbat, the world's
ninth-highest peak, a diplomat said on Saturday.

Jose Antonio Delgado, a 41-year-old Venezuelan, became
stranded in bad weather at a height of 24,280 feet (7,400
meters) during his ascent of "The Killer Mountain," as Nanga
Parbat is otherwise known.

"All the elements suggest it is the body of Jose Antonio
Delgado," Venezuela's ambassador to Iran told the South
American nation's state-run television broadcaster. "We have
communicated with his wife and sent our deepest condolences to
his relatives."

Television reports said the climber's body was found just
120 feet from his tent, between the mountain's third and fourth
base camps.

The climber's wife, Freda Ayala, is in the Pakistani
capital of Islamabad.

Clear weather in recent days aided rescuers from the
Pakistan Mountaineering and Climbing Federation who combed
Nanga Parbat by foot and using helicopters looking for Delgado.

Delgado was one of the most successful Latin American
climbers of all time and summited Mount Everest in 2001.

Nanga Parbat, 26,660 feet high and at the western end of
the Himalayas, was first conquered by German Buhl, of Germany,
in 1953 after 31 people died attempting it.

Since then more have died on its slopes and the toll is now
47, far fewer than Everest, but fewer people try to climb Nanga
Parbat, which is regarded as technically one of the most
difficult mountains to climb.

(Additional reporting by Deisy Buitrago)