A massive rescue operation is currently being planned after Polish alpinist Tomek Mackiewicz and the French alpinist Elisabeth Revol hoped to become the second ever team to climb the world’s 9th highest peak, Nanga Parbat (26,660ft/8,126m), in winter but became stranded high on the mountain when Mackiewicz was stricken with snow blindness and frostbite, reports rockandice.com.
What was supposed to be a day of celebration and glory for the partnership has turned into a perilous situation. A GoFundMe fundraiser to help finance a rescue operation, to be carried out by members of the Polish expedition themselves attempting the first winter ascent of the nearby K2 (28,251ft/8,611m), has the most up-to-date information on the situation. Janusz Majer, an organizer on the K2 expedition, posted on Facebook: “We received information from France yesterday at night. Elisabeth [Revol] and Tomasz Mackiewicz got stuck at an altitude of about 24,278ft (7,400m) under the top dome.”
The most recent update, posted on the GoFundMe page at approximately 9:00 pm in Pakistan Standard Time on January 26, says that Revol “managed to bring Tomek down to 23,885ft (7280m) this morning and set him up in a tent to spend the night while the rescue effort gets [underway] early tomorrow morning.”
Revol herself is continuing to descend to help mobilize the rescue effort and last made contact from an elevation of 21,886ft (6,671m).
“Though she has no tent, she is clearly lucid and making progress on descent to help get rescue effort [underway],” the GoFundMe update reads.
The rescue will be a major undertaking. Four members of the Polish K2 expedition will be helicoptered from their Basecamp to the Basecamp at Nanga Parbat on the morning of January 27. Weather permitting, the helicopter will deposit the rescuers higher on the mountain with reserves of supplemental oxygen and food.
This was 43-year-old Mackiewicz’s seventh attempt at climbing Nanga Parbat in the winter. As in his efforts, Mackiewicz’s goal was to reach the summit in pure alpine style, via the unfinished Messner Route.
For further updates on the rescue effort and to contribute to the fundraising campaign visit: https://www.gofundme.com/rescue-on-nanga-parbat.