A French woman was rescued alive from the treacherous northern Himalayan peak known as “Killer Mountain,” but rescuers were not able to locate her Polish climbing companion.
Tomasz Mackiewicz from Poland, and Elisabeth Revol of France, were attempting to scale the 8,126-meter (26,660-feet) Nanga Parbat. But, they became stuck at the 7,400-meter mark and used a satellite phone to call for help, organizers of the expedition said.
An elite Polish climbing team attempting the first winter ascent of nearby K2, dropped their efforts on that mountain so that they could attempt to rescue the two stranded climbers.
The Pakistan military airlifted a four-member Polish team to Nanga Parbat: Russian climber Denis Urubko, who has dual Polish citizenship, together with Polish climbers Adam Bielecki, Jaroslaw Botor and Piotrek Tomala.
One climber found
“Elisabeth Revol Found!” was posted on the team’s Facebook pages early Sunday.
Revol is reported to have frostbite on her feet and cannot walk. She was evacuated by helicopter and will be taken to Skardu and then Islamabad for treatment, according to Ludovic Giambiasi, one of Revol’s friends.
Giambiasi also said on Facebook that the rescuers could not find Mackiewicz and would have to leave without him.
“The rescue for Tomasz is unfortunately not possible — because of the weather and altitude it would put the life of rescuers in extreme danger,” Giambiasi wrote. “It’s a terrible and painful decision. … All our thoughts go out to Tomek’s family and friends. We are crying.”
Earlier reports said Mackiewicz was suffering with frostbite and snow blindness. A Pakistani official said Mackiewicz had been declared dead.
A temperature of minus 60 degrees Celsius was recorded on Nanga Parbat where the two climbers were stuck.
The Polish government pledged to provide financial guarantees and support for the rescue operation.
In addition, a crowd-funding campaign raised $100,000 for the rescue efforts.
Pakistan rivals Nepal for the number of peaks over 7,000 meters (23,000 feet) and is considered a climbers’ paradise, but fatalities are also common.
Nanga Parbat obtained its “Killer Mountain” moniker because of the high number of lives it has claimed. In June a Spanish man and an Argentinian perished in an avalanche while trying to scale its peak.
The first successful winter ascent of the mountain was made as recently as February 2016. Mackiewicz had made six previous attempts to scale Nanga Parbat in winter.