My brother, Matthew Eakin, died on July 25, 2022, on his descent from the summit of K2, the world’s second-highest mountain, in Pakistan. It’s likely we won’t ever know the exact circumstances of his death, but he fell on the Abruzzi route and was found close to Base Camp.
Two men found Matt, and just after they left for help, a small avalanche struck and buried him. Over the following two days, teams attempted to dig Matt out of the snow and ice but, despite their very best efforts, were unsuccessful. Matt remains buried, but his location is well known.
Given this knowledge, we have an opportunity to retrieve Matthew rather than risk the possibility of snowmelt uncovering his body in the future. Our family, understandably, doesn’t want this for Matt.
A very generous group of Matt’s close friends has offered to go to Pakistan to attempt to retrieve him, so that he may be buried with respect and dignity.
The small team plans to head to Pakistan over three weeks in February 2023. This timing is when conditions are expected to be the most optimal and safest. Matt’s location has been marked with GPS, so the chances he can be found are high. The team also plans to use ground-penetrating radar to improve those chances further.
K2 is located in the Karakoram region of Pakistan. It is an isolated area in the northeast of the country, bordering China. This won't be a simple or easy operation; just trekking to K2 Base Camp from the nearest village will take seven days - there are no roads.
Funds raised will help to pay for the trekking permits, local trekking operator fees, flights, and hire of equipment needed to help recover Matt. Any funds raised above what’s required for the expedition will be donated to the Black Dog Institute.
If it is safe for members of a search team, we believe that all climbers who die in the mountains while pursuing their passion should have a chance to be found and buried to ease the grieving process for families and friends.
Our family is incredibly humbled by Matt’s friends' offer to help lay him to rest with dignity. We know their offer to help is a reflection of their love for him.
We have been left with a massive Matt-sized hole in our family. The tributes and immense outpourings of grief from his friends and communities Matt was involved with have helped us realise his life's impact on so many people across the world. He considered these friends his family too. His death has left a hole in their worlds too.