Pakistani Officials Weigh in on Nanga Parbat Rescue Controversy.

The rescue operation that took place on Nanga Parbat a few weeks back continues to be a source of frustration and controversy. While climbers from K2 were able to rescue Elisabeth Revol, they weren’t able to climb higher to save Tomek Mackiewicz, which has created a contentious environment to say the least. Revol has expressed her anger over how slowly the operation came together, saying more than once that Tomek could have been saved had search and rescue teams responded more expediently. She has even said the company operating the helicopter raised the price of the flight in an effort to make more money off of the situation. While that remains under investigation, Pakistani officials have responded to criticism not just from Revol but the media as well, providing some insights into their side of the story.

In a post made to the Pakistan Mountain News page on Facebook officials made four points that they thought were important enough to share. Those points were as follows:

1. First, Pakistan is a developing economy and ‘Tourism’ sector receives much less attention. Despite, it has world’s best wonders. Neither there are institutions for high-demanding-skills rescue operation on mountain nor has it modern resource and equipment.
2. Second, these mountaineers go on Nanga Parbat at very economical package. Such economical packages do not cover many essentials. It is only their bravery and audacity that make them to summit in the winter.
3. Third, Askari Aviation does not have high-tech helicopters that can hover around in inclement weather condition. As it was coordinated rescue operation, nobody could help Tomek and Elisabeth in private capacity.
4. Lastly, Poland or French official authorities did not contact State of Pakistan officially after this rescue. However, Eisabeth was given utmost care and attention. The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan enquired after her in hospital. She did not utter a word.

While some will probably look at this list and see a set of excuses, these are all very important things to keep in mind. Pakistan is indeed a developing country that doesn’t have the resources of some other nations when it comes fountaining these kinds of operations. It is also true that Tomek and Elisabeth’s expedition was a low-budget affair, leaving little room for error and not much in the way of a safety net if things went wrong. Unfortunately, things went very wrong, and they also didn’t have the resources for a rescue.

Askari Aviation is the company that has received a lot of venom for not reacting quicker and potentially trying to bilk more money out of the operation. But it is also probably true that they don’t have very sophisticated helicopter designed for use in the high mountains.

In other words, there are always multiple sides to a story and it is clear that we understand all of the variables at play. Clearly this is a complicated situation with a lot to think about. Sadly, Tomek lost his life, and because of that this will likely be a divisive topic for a long time to come.
Autor : Kraig Becker

* source: – Pakistani Officials Weigh in on Nanga Parbat Rescue Controversy

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition 2017/18.

Polish famous climbers – The golden decade of Polish Himalayan mountaineering.

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Nanga Parbat: Appreciation, Finger Pointing and Lost Hope.

The echo of Tomek Mackiewicz’s death and Elisabeth Revol’s rescue continues to haunt Nanga Parbat, and in some ways the Pakistani mountaineering community.


Denis Urubko -Elisabeth Revol -Adam Bielecki

Mackiewicz’s wife, Anna Antoinette Solska, posted on his Facebook page a classy and emotional thank you to all involved in the search for her husband. It began:

I would like to express my profound gratitude to Elisabeth Revol for staying with Tom as long as possible, for bringing him as low as possible, for taking immediately a fight to save him, for words of comfort for me, which in such a dramatic situation both for Tom and her alone was able to direct me to tell me that he was doing everything he could to help him. She did everything in her power to that moment where she had to continue to fight to save her life too. We are unable to imagine the dramatic situation in which she found herself or the moral tragic choice she had to make. We have no right to judge. I’m with her all my heart to get better. Thank you for her love giving tomek to children, for her willingness to support children and Tom’s family. Eli, thank you.

Please read her entire post.

After Elisabeth Revol’s angry press conference where she lashed out at the Pakistanis, Polish and French embassies claiming their delays cost  Tomek Mackiewicz his life, she is now blaming the press for getting her story wrong. However, the French media BFMTV quoted the French climber, Revol, “I have a lot of anger in me, she continues. We could have saved Tomek had there been real relief made on time and organized.”

Her Facebook post starts:

Started by Messner, this path was to be the culmination of our physical and mental preparations, with tomek, we knew that the summit would not be easy.

Fifteen days we separate from this epic story widely reported by the press… reported, but also distorted, words extirpées, out of context.. I don’t want to report the facts, but rather tell you what, today , count to my eyes…

Please read her entire post.

Finally Pakistan Mountaineering News defended Pakistan on their Facebook with a series of four points (highlights only, please read entire post):

  1. First, Pakistan is a developing economy and ‘Tourism’ sector receives much less attention. Despite, it has world’s best wonders. Neither there are institutions for high-demanding-skills rescue operation on mountain nor has it modern resource and equipment.
  2. Second, these mountaineers go on Nanga Parbat at very economical package. Such economical packages do not cover many essentials. It is only their bravery and audacity that make them to summit in the winter.
  3. Third, Askari Avidiation does not have high-tech helicopters that can hover around in inclement weather condition. As it was coordinated rescue operation, nobody could help Tomek and Elisabeth in private capacity.
  4. Lastly, Poland or French official authorities did not contact State of Pakistan officially after this rescue. However, Eisabeth was given utmost care and attention. The Chief Secretary of Gilgit-Baltistan enquired after her in hospital. She did not utter a word.

Mackiewicz’s father was desperate to put together a team to retrieve his body. He found the money and the climbers, but the Pakistani Government said no – too much risk. I suspect they are weary of the criticism.

With Nanga over, time to focus on K2 and Everest. My best to all the climbers on all these teams.

.. more on : – http://www.alanarnette.com/blog

Autor : Alan Arnette

* source: – K2 Progress, Everest Dancing, Tomek’s Wife Thanks Everyone

** see also: – National Polish Winter K2 Expedition.

Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

Tomek Mackiewicz Perhises on Nanga Parbat Following Heroic Rescue Attempt.

Krzysztof Wielicki : Wyścig ze śmiercią – akcja ratunkowa na K2, Netia K2 Polish Winter Expedition (2003/2004).

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Could Tomek Mackiewicz Have Been Saved on Nanga Parbat?

When it comes to mountaineering, second guessing is often a sport unto itself. Such is the case with the recent tragedy on Nanga Parbat, where Polish climber Tomek Mackiewicz lost his life, but a team of climbers on K2 risked their own to rescue French alpinist Elisabeth Revol. But now that the dust has settled, and the operation is being examined, Revol herself is lashing out at authorities in Pakistan, which she says didn’t do enough to help save her friend.

In an interview conducted on Wednesday, Revol said that she feels a lot of anger over the situation. She believes that Mackiewicz could have been saved had officials in Pakistan worked faster and been more forthright in their actions. The French climber says that she sent out an SOS to her husband, Tomek’s wife, and Ludovic Giambiasi, who was helping coordinate the expedition from back home. Those three jumped into action to try to get help for Revol and Mackiewicz, but were met with resistance and stalling on the part of the Pakistanis.
Perhaps the most disturbing element to the story is how the Pakistani helicopter rescue team began negotiating the price of starting the operation. According to reports, they initially wanted $15,000 to fly to Nanga Parbat to rescue Elisabeth and Tomak. But as things progressed, that price rose to $40,000 in cash and in advance, before the flight would ever leave the ground.
It should be also noted that while high altitude rescues have become fairly common on Everest and other big Nepali peaks, in Pakistan they remain fairly rare. The pilots and SAR teams don’t have much experience conducting such operations, which also makes them hesitant to go too high. Tomek was stranded at 7200 meters (23,622 ft), while Revol was told to descend down to 6300 meters (20,669 ft) to meet a rescue team. When she did that however, no one arrived to lend a hand and she was forced to spend another night exposed to the elements in a crevasse. This eventually led to her pulling her boots off while hallucinating, causing severe frostbite.

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The end of the rescue operation at Nanga Parbat.

The end of the rescue operation at Nanga Parbat. Joy and sadn

Elisabeth Revol has been found! Adam (Bielecki) and Denis (Urubko) reached her a moment ago. They are preparing the evacuation operation and will be lowering her on ropes to the camp, where Jarek (Jarosław Bator) and Piotrek (Piotr Tomala) are waiting …

Interview: Simone Moro on winter K2.

December 21 marks the official start of winter. This season, all eyes will be on the Polish expedition to attempt the first winter ascent of K2, led by Krzysztof Wielicki. ExWeb caught up with Simone Moro to talk about challenges the team will face and get some background on the expedition.

** see also: – Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

– Winter Climbs 2018: Camp 3 on Everest, K2 Team in Skardu

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Nanga Parbat Debrief: More Details Emerge on Tragic Expedition.

A week ago, the mountaineering world stood still as we all watched the events that were unfolding on Nanga Parbat as they occurred in realtime. It was a scary, crazy situation that played out like a movie, with a result that was both triumphant and tragic at the same time. Now that we’ve allowed a bit of distance to pass, we’re learning more about exactly what happened as survivor Elisabeth Revol shares her story.

According to Revol, she and Tomek Mackiewicz set out for the summit late last week as expected, The duo were attempt to become just the second team to climb Nanga Parbat during the winter, a project that Tomek had been focused on for more than seven years. The two climbers were successful in that venture, reaching the top of the 8125-meter (26,526 ft) peak late in the day. But, they had pushed their luck too far and arrived around 6:00 PM local time, which meant that they couldn’t spend much time at all on the summit.

To make matters worse, as they turned to go back down Tomek revealed that he had lost his eye site. Revol says that he hadn’t used a mask during the ascent because of the hazy conditions, and after hours of exposure he was suffering from snow blindness. The two carefully made their way back down the mountain with the Frenchwoman leading the way and her Polish climbing partner handing on to her shoulder.

From there, Mackiewicz’s condition only continued to deteriorate. His breathing started to become irregular and both climbers were suffering from frostbite. With exhaustion setting in, they knew they wouldn’t be able to reach their high camp, so they sought shelter at 7200 meter (23,622 ft) to try to wait out the night.

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Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong.

By now, the story is well known and earning global headlines in both the mountaineering and mainstream press. Two climbers joined together to attempt the world’s ninth highest peak, Nanga Parbat at 8,126-meters/26,660 feet. They got in trouble descending from 8000-meter level and life and death decisions were made.

Tomek Mackiewicz‘s dream was to summit Nanga in the winter. This was his seventh attempt on the peak. The polish climber had teamed up with French climber Elisabeth Revol who had come within a breath of summiting last year. She was on her third attempt. The two highly skilled climbers made the summit was confirmed by one, but this detail seems less important given what happened next.

The duo arrived in Pakistan on December 16 planning to travel to base camp and climb via the Diamer Face – a route both knew well. They touched 6300 meters on an acclimatization rotation on January 3 but then, as is expected on the high peaks in winter, the winds moved in. The temperatures dropped to -45 Fahrenheit or Celsius – no matter the scale, skin instantly freezes in these conditions.

After waiting a couple of weeks, they left for their summit bid, aiming at a tiny window when the winds would calm, perhaps enough time to sneak to the top and get back down before winter returned. January 25 became the target summit day. On January 24, they had reached 7,300 meters and followers cheered them on. Then, all communications stopped.

Nanga Parbat. Courtesy of Wspinanie.pl

Nanga Parbat. Courtesy of Wspinanie.pl

The mountaineering community went into action. Their home teams and local logistics organizer started to call for helicopter rescues. Polish and French embassies got involved. But, as is standard and well known in Pakistan, no cash, no rescue. A private company, Askari Aviation, would fly military helicopters but their flying ceiling was 6,000-meters and the climbers were thought to be at 7,900 meters.

A fundraiser was launched and with hours, tens of thousands of Euros were raised from tiny and large donors across the world. Then the money problem was instantly erased as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland said they would guarantee all rescue costs. Plans were developed and the only humans on the planet that had the skills and readiness to help with the operation were on K2, 111 miles to the North.

The Polish K2 team had already spent several nights at Camp 2 on the Česen Ridge, a 6400-meters.  When contacted they didn’t take another breath before saying yes. The plan took shape starting with a helicopter picking up Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki, Piotr Tomala and Jarek Botor and flying them as high up on Nanga as possible.

Denis Urubko posted on Facebook:

Ciao Matteo. Everything is in correct way finally. Tomorrow morning rescue team will fly to Diamir. We will try to go by Kinshoffer route as soon as possible. Adam and me are in head-team, going light style. Will be necessary to climb, sure, because old ropes shall be into the ice. Our group can be 4-6 members finally. We’ll try to do our best.

What developed was fundamental battlefield triage, save those who have a chance and get to others next. They would attempt to rescue Revol first who was reported to have tried to descend to a safer altitude near Camp 3. She had sent her GPS location via her SPOT tracker. Then they would return to attempt to retrieve Mackiewicz near Camp 4, suggesting he would have spent over 48 hours near 8,000-meters blind and frostbitten with no food or water.

The unpredictable winter weather – high winds and heavy snow played with the plans. The choppers were on and then off. They could fly higher but were stopped for safety when dense fog developed above 6,000-meters. the first rule of being a rescuer is not to become a victim. Urubko and Bielecki were dropped at 4,900-meters –  a long way to climb to reach Revol.

Courtesy of Denis Urubko

Courtesy of Denis Urubko

She reported that Tomak was suffering from frostbite, snow blindness and was unconscious. She was faced with a decision most will never experience and ever fewer may understand. She began to carefully descend knowing that was her only chance to live. Only Revol will know what she felt, what she said and how the weight of her decision will bear on her for the rest of her life. For others to criticize is a mistake and an exercise in ignorance and arrogance.

The Poles climbed at a superhuman pace – covering 1,250 meters in 7:30 – this is 166 meter per hour or 550 feet per hour – at 6,000-meters, ~20,000 feet. This is phenomenal considering the technical terrain at night on the Kingshofer Wall. They found Revol at midnight. The rest of the K2 team, Piotr & Jarek, followed them with more rescue gear ready to reach Tomak.

Courtesy of Denis Urubko Facebook

As the weather deteriorated, the three alpinists descended, Revol with frostbitten toes and virtually no food or water for the past 48 hours. The choice was made to leave Tomek in a tent at 7,400 meters as the clouds moved over Nanga and the winds picked up. The last person to see him was Revol, 24 hours earlier.

Courtesy of Denis Urubko

Denis Urubko, Elisabeth Revol, Adam Bielecki. Courtesy of Denis Urubko

… more The Blog on alanarnette.com , see: –  Nanga Parbat: 1 Saved, 1 Lost and the Spirit of Mountaineering is Strong

Reaching base camp, the wind was strong – too harsh for a helicopter to fly in – or for a rescue attempt of Tomek. As one of the thousands who posted on social media said, “Tomek is now asleep in the arms of Nanga.”

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