In an attempt to become just the second team to climb the “Killer Mountain” during winter, two foreign climbers decided to have to got at it on 8th January. Little did they know that this mission will be the last one for one of them and their dream will turn in to a nightmare.
Only one team has managed to reach the top of 8,126 meters tall mountain “Nanga Parbat” in history. On the other hand around 30 climbers have lost their lives trying to conquer the mountain which earned it the title of “Killer Mountain”.
Polish mountaineer Tomek Mackiewicz and French alpinist Elisibeth Revol teamed up to climb the 9th highest peak in the world. On 8th January they started their expedition in extreme weather conditions to reach the peak’s top. The team managed to cross 7000+ meters, however they lost communication with the ground teams on 25th January.
Due to the extreme weather and conditions, on the same day (25th Jan) the team got stuck at an altitude of 7,400 meters. Both climbers spent the whole night there while making efforts to get down the mountain.
Freezing temperatures and strong winds of winter made it impossible for the climbers to come down. One thing is to be noted here is this was the seventh consecutive attempt by Tomek to ace the mountain. Revol joined Tomek two years ago as both teamed up to reach the top.
After getting stranded at Nanga Parbat recently, the climbers used a satellite phone and called for help in rescuing them. Elisibeth Revol was in better condition as she managed to bring Tomek down to 7,280 meters altitude.
Tomek couldn’t descent anymore due to frostbite and snow blindness. Elisibeth set up a camp for him there and continued her journey down to get help in the rescue. The last contact that she made was from an altitude of 6,671 meters.
The Rescue Operation
After getting the calls for help from the climbers, French and Polish embassies contacted Pakistan Army to help in the rescue of both climbers. The rescue mission started on 27th January where two Pakistan Army helicopters carried four skilled Polish mountaineers from K2 summit to help in the rescue.
The helicopters can be seen carrying the climbers here in the video:
Photage of Pak Army Aviation taking Polish rescuers to extricate a French (female) and a Polish (male) mountaineers from Nanga Parbat from an altitude of over 7400m (24278feet). Wind speed while dropping the team were 30-35 knots. pic.twitter.com/UtrwKDvekq
— A Good Soldier (@soldier_pk) January 28, 2018
The cost of the operation was estimated to be around $50,000 (Rs. 5 million). A GoFundMe fundraising campaign was started by another climber to help fund the rescue. The funding quickly reached $50,000 as rescue operation was started by the authorities. Polish and French embassies in Pakistan also helped financially in bringing their climbers down to safety.
Pakistan Army’s operation to rescue two foreign mountaineers stuck in Nanga Parbat is in progress.
According to ISPR, 2 helicopters carrying 4 rescuers are undertaking rescue mission.
The request was made to Pakistan Army to save lives of these mountaineers by concerned Embassies pic.twitter.com/i3x7EjCnn0
— Govt of Pakistan (@pid_gov) January 27, 2018
The rescue mission started on January 27 in extreme conditions with near zero visibility. The helicopters dropped the rescue team at an altitude of 4,800 meters. The rescuers managed to bring the Frenchwoman Elisibeth Revol to safety.
However, due to extraordinary conditions they had to take the tough decision of leaving Tomek behind. One of the friends of Elisibeth Revol told;
The rescue for Tomasz is unfortunately not possible – because of the weather and altitude it would put the life of rescuers in extreme danger. It’s a terrible and painful decision. We are in deep sadness. All our thoughts go out to Tomek’s family and friends. We are crying.
The GoFundMe campaign has reached €116,742 amount already. The money will go to Tomek’s wife and three children that he left behind. Elisibeth was flown to Islamabad and her treatment is underway in a hospital because of the severe frostbite on her hands and feet.