Accomplished climber Rick Allen was reported missing, presumed dead, after summiting Broad Peak, the world’s 12th highest mountain, until a Japanese cook spotted a rucksack moving. A drone was then used at 27,560-feet (a world record?) to help locate and return him to base camp, mostly unhurt.
Yesterday just as @fredrikstrang and I were about to leave after a night at camp 3 (7,000 m), we heard a radio call that a missing climber needed rescue high on the mountain. He had fallen off an ice cliff, and been solo on the mountain for 36 hours without a stove to melt water. The climber had been presumed dead until a drone pilot from K2 basecamp spotted him still moving and off route. We headed first down then up the mountain with rope, water, and medicine looking for him and were later joined by Tenji Sherpa from Summit Climb. With the help of the drone pilot we were able to eventually locate him in very dangerous terrain — a fall would’ve taken him either down a crevasse or all the way to the base of the mountain — and the three of us got him down and into a tent at camp 3 just as it was getting dark. Then the Summit Climb team took over
Rick was on a small private team including Casper Tekieli, Sandy Allan, and Stanislav Vrba attempting a new route on Broad Peak. It appears Rick made a solo summit attempt, slipped and fell. His teammates, assuming he was dead, took his sat phone and descended. After 3 days Rick returned to base camp. He can walk and talk, but has freeze injuries and facial bleeding cuts, from falling off a summit rock cliff and hitting his head
Sandy Allen made this post with all the details on his blog:
Sandy and Rick are now both back at Base Camp following a couple of days making a summit attempt. Sandy returned back to camp himself after deciding to descend due to high winds. The rest of the team stayed at Camp 3 and considered their options for the summit. Rick made a summit attempt on 9th July after climbing all day and night. Rick was missing from the group and feared injured from 9th July until he was spotted by a drone, piloted by climbers at K2 Base Camp on July 10th.
Sandy, with help from Andrej Berdel, his brother Bartek and their drone, was able to coordinate climbers that were already on the mountain to reach Rick at around 7.30pm. The climbers brought Rick back to camp 3 in the darkness. Rick returned to Base Camp today (12th June) safely thanks to Dan Mazur and his sherpas. After being examined by a doctor at basecamp, Rick is okay all things considered and has a few superficial cuts and some frostnip.
Sandy and Rick would like to express their sincere thanks to Kacper, Stan, Andrej and Bartek Bargel, Piotr Pablus, Dan Mazur and team, Frekrik Strang, David Roeske, Major Ramzan, Captain Kaddar and Dan’s sherpas.
In 2012 Sandy Allan and his climbing partner Rick Allen completed an amazing climb of the previously unclimbed Mazeno Ridge – the longest in the Himalayas – on Nanga Parbat.
This is the second instance we’ve heard this week of drones being used for good after Mountain Rescue Aspen used one for a rescue last week. Great to see this technology being used for good as opposed to being a privacy nuisance!