A search and rescue operation for the U.S. citizen who failed to return from climbing Altai Tavan Bogd Mountain has been stopped following the contest of his family, reported the Mongolian National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). It is now 17 days since the 40-year-old went missing in Bayan-Ulgii, the westernmost province of Mongolia.
The search and rescue operation started on 22 September but had to be suspended after four days due to bad weather conditions and heavy snow on the Altia Tavan Bogd; it was resumed on 27 September. The rescue operation was expanded with NEMA officers from the Uvs and Khovd Provinces and mountaineers from Mongolian National Climbing Federation.
According to ‘Altai Tour’ Travel Company, based in Bayan-Ulgii Province, the man began climbing the mountain with five other tourists, 180 km north of Tsengel Soum on 18 September. However, he was travelling alone without a guide or travel agency support. According to one source, the five others failed to find him when they reached the top of the mountain. Subsequently, an employee of the travel company informed NEMA about the missing man at 10.11 pm on 21 September.
The stunning Altai Tavan Bogd National Park follows Mongolia’s western border with China and Russia, and is the greatest attraction in the west of the country. This summer it was climbed by many foreign visitors, including the US president’s son and grandson. The mountain is 185 km from the town of Ulgii, which is the provincial centre.