Polish-Russian team rescues French climber at 20,000 feet, hope for Polish team mate all but lost

Nanga ParbatImage : Wikipedia Commons, Abdul Rafey

A Polish-Russian team of mountain climbers: Adam Bielecki and Denis Urubko managed to find French climber Elisabeth Revol, who had been stranded on Nanga Parbat together with Poland’s Tomasz Mackiewicz. She was found at around 2 a.m. Pakistani time at 6,100 meters (20,000 feet). She had frostbites on her feet and hands and could not walk. After bringing her to their camp, a decision was made that they would not continue with the rescue of Mackiewicz, as it would be nearly impossible to get to him due to deteriorating weather conditions and it would be an “extreme danger” to their lives, Ludovic Giambiasi, Revol’s team mate from a previous expedition, who was in contact with her during the climb, wrote on Facebook.

Revol and Mackiewicz had climbed atop Nanga Parbat, but their descent became impossible due to bad weather conditions. Revol helped Mackiewicz set up a tent at 7,200 meters (24,000 feet). She texted Mackiewicz’s wife telling her that her team mate had succumbed to snow blindness, altitude sickness and frostbite and was in “terminal state.” Revol began to climb down on her own.

The rescue team made up of four climbers who were at a base camp of K2 at the time, preparing for their own expedition. They were air lifted from the K2 base camp and placed at 4,800 meters (16,000 feet) of Nanga Parbat and began their ascent immediately. The two-men team, considered some of the fastest climbers in the world, managed to reach Revol in record time of 8 hours (it had been assessed it would take at least a day and a half to reach her position), despite climbing through the night.

The rescue mission of Revol and Mackiewicz was organized by the Polish Foreign Ministry, which paid for renting Pakistani helicopters. Altogether four Polish climbers went up Nanga Parbat to rescue Revol: Bielecki, Urubko, Jarosław Botor and Piotr Tomala.

Adam Bielecki, 34, was a member of the Polish 2013 Broad Peak mountain expedition, where two out of four team members lost their lives.

Nanga Parbat (also dubbed “Killer Mountain”) is the ninth highest mountain in the world. Its top was first reached during winter in 2016.

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