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Drama on Nanga Parbat

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I don't know if anyone has been following the dramatic (nearly none) rescue of Elisabeth Revol and Tomek Mackiewicz who got into difficulty on the descent of Nanga Parbat after summiting. The Pakistani govt. refused helicopter rescue until a 50 K USD guarantee was put in place. Finally the Polish govt has guaranteed the costs but there is an online collection.

It doesn't look good for Tomek, he's stuck at around 7000 meters today and snowblind and unable to move. Elisabeth is lower, somewhere above 6000 meters but without equipment and suffering from frost-bight. Polish climbers are hoping to reach her tonight and then climb on to Tomek but it looks pretty desperate.

https://twitter.com/EverestToday
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A polish friend just sent me a message regarding this. Apparently Tomek was a drug addict in his early years but seems to have turned his life around. He has tried to summit Nanja Parbat in winter many times (6?). 2 of the rescuers were getting ready for a winter attempt on K2, they are really top quality climbers but to stretcher someone off a big mountain takes many people. Wish them all the best. They have just reached the French woman.
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How many winter attempts are there in the Himalya on >8000m peaks? I struggle to imagine the conditions. Hope there is a positive outcome from this.
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A bit more on the polish climbers ....

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/sports/polish-climbers-to-scale-deadly-k2-peak-in-winter.html

As with ski touring, the number of attempts depends very much on the weather conditions. Nanga Parbat was only successfully climbed in winter within the last few years. It‘s probably the second most dangerous 8000m + mountain in winter ( K2 being the most dangerous).
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They are deciding what to do next, 2 rescuers are at 6100m with the female French climber, Tomek is at 7300 in a tent. Reminds me of David Sharp. Hope a miracle comes out of this as it did for Beck Weathers.
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1200m is a big ask at that altitude with the weather window due to shut in around 10 hours.
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davidof wrote:
1200m is a big ask at that altitude

Yes especially with what they have already done today (4800 to 6100?). Plus even if they get to Tomek, 2 people won‘t be enough to get him down. 2 other rescuers with more equipment are also on the way up. Tomek has frostbite and snow blindness, his chances look very slim, does it make sense to risk healthy lives to get him down?

Maybe if they can get supplies up to him and there is a break in the weather then a helicopter rescue might be possible.
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DB wrote:
Tomek has frostbite and snow blindness, his chances look very slim, does it make sense to risk healthy lives to get him down?

If you think about it, it's all nuts. I am quite fascinated by high altitude climbing. I've got Alan Hinkes book about his 13 x 8000m climbs. He makes a big point about his relative lack of risk taking. But to me reading about his climbs doesn't hold up. I've done Kili which is a relative piece of p!$$ but still nuts. Winter climbing in these places is extra nuts. Trying to rescue others doing so is just sprinkling some chopped almonds on top. Hope they all come out alive - as ever.
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Sad news.

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Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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Sounds like they’ve reached Elisabeth from recent reports. As sad as it is she’s lucky she was able to be rescued in winter.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Elizabeth has frostbite on both hands and feet. Temps were below minus 30 deg C but below minus 50 with wind chill.
High winds and deep snow don‘t make it any easier

Tomek was really determined, his many winter attempts on Nanga Parbat are mentioned in the link below
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanga_Parbat
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This morning's update

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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sadly

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@DB, ...Nanga P...its reputation is indeed tough and grim. The Poles have a reputation for incredible determination. I know quite a few and would trust those I know in any situation. I hope to hell that they can get up there - what's this about a 6000m ceiling for the helicopter? I wonder if they are using local machines and not Eurocopters - or if the ceiling is being determined by weather rather than the machines...
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@valais2, as you say, tech specs limit the max ceiling for a helicopter and there's not one military bean counter that will measure one human life above mission imperative so finding a military helicopter equipped for very high altitude response is very expensive rockinghorse poop.
Looking at this situation from a very dour viewpoint, not all of us want to 'go quiet' from this mortal coil. To 'pass on' striving for what we most want to achieve is a goal that is not sad. Our history is littered with failed human endeavour and reading that record we are all better equipped both physically and mentally to continue to challenge the future . . . wherever that may take us Crying or Very sad
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Apparently although lone pilots have flown much higher the highest rescue looks to be around 7000m (23000 ft).

http://aviationweek.com/business-aviation/world-s-highest-helicopter-rescue
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What a horrible and tragic situation Sad
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Masque wrote:
not all of us want to 'go quiet' from this mortal coil. To 'pass on' striving for what we most want to achieve is a goal that is not sad.

Indeed. I understand they achieved their goal of reaching the summit.
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The goal would be to summit and return alive.
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His determination and guts are admirable and extraordinary. I suspect that he would not expect rescuers to run such a high risk of death for him. Very sad, but it sounds like the right decision was made. Crying or Very sad
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Layne wrote:
The goal would be to summit and return alive.

Aye, if you are allowed to. I won't labour Masque's point.
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Nanga Parbat's peak is at 8126m

Here's how determined Tomek Czapkins Mackiewicz was to be the first to scale Nanga Parbat in winter

2010/11 reached 5100m
2011/12 reached 5500m
2012/13 reached 6600m
2013/14 reached 7200m
2014/15 reached 7800m
2015/16 reached 7500m
2017/18 reached peak but sadly didn't make it down.

The race to summit many 8000m+ peaks has been determined by the weather. (e.g. just a month after his attempt in Jan 2016 a good weather window opened up and the peak was finally summited in Feb 2016). His early climbing partner Marek Klonowski was one of the sucessful team members to first scale Nanga Parbat in winter.

One of the rescuers (Adam Bielecki) also tried to summit Nanga Parbat in winter during 2015/16 but was injured and had to abort.

Nanga Parbat is know as "killer mountain" and has claimed a lot of lives, it's where Reinhold Messner lost his brother Günther back in 1970.

Sad Tomek didn't make it down but glad he finally got up to the peak and he was a major part of a successful attempt (Elizabeth Revol is now the second woman to scale Nanga Parbat in winter).
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DB wrote:


Sad Tomek didn't make it down but glad he finally got up to the peak and he was a major part of a successful attempt (Elizabeth Revol is now the second woman to scale Nanga Parbat in winter).


I'm sure his 3 kids will take some comfort from that.
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davidof wrote:
DB wrote:


Sad Tomek didn't make it down but glad he finally got up to the peak and he was a major part of a successful attempt (Elizabeth Revol is now the second woman to scale Nanga Parbat in winter).


I'm sure his 3 kids will take some comfort from that.
that was a bit heartless.
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 You know it makes sense.
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@davidof, I think the same way. Not sure it is heartless, just bluntly practical.
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Quote:

@davidof, I think the same way. Not sure it is heartless, just bluntly practical.


I agree. Everyone makes their own choices and that is how it should be but personally, and like most of us I suspect, I would find the risks of 8000m peaks incompatible with being a parent. Of course the people who make winter ascents of 8000m peaks don't have a typical outlook on life.

One think I'm pretty sure about - Tomek would not have expected to be rescued from 7300m, he knew the risks and will have assumed he got down under his own steam or not at all.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Sad news, high altitude climbing takes full commitment and is very single minded, you have to accept a fairly high level of risk just being there, never mind the multitude of decisions taken.
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davidof wrote:
DB wrote:


Sad Tomek didn't make it down but glad he finally got up to the peak and he was a major part of a successful attempt (Elizabeth Revol is now the second woman to scale Nanga Parbat in winter).


I'm sure his 3 kids will take some comfort from that.


His kids and wife Anna will need all the help they can get now .....



Donate here - https://www.gofundme.com/rescue-on-nanga-parbat

Quote:
Update at 12:54
Beware of fraud: the Polish expedition warns the following “There are websites that pretend to be the Kukuczka Foundation, and they're collecting money for the Tomasz Mackiewicz's family. Please be advised that at the moment the Foundation does not conduct such a collection. Please be careful”. Anyone wishing to make a donation should do so at www.gofundme.com/rescue-on-nanga-parbat


http://www.planetmountain.com/en/news/alpinism/nanga-parbat-relentless-rescue-efforts-continue-for-elizabeth-revol-and-tomek-mackiewicz.html
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https://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-42909586
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Quote:

people who make winter ascents of 8000m peaks don't have a typical outlook on life.

Exactly!

So should those kind of people not create any offsprings?

But if so, aren’t we depriving the future gene pool adventurous spirits that’s so instrumental to our advances as a species?
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Some followup

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/haute-savoie/elisabeth-revol-colere-contre-lenteur-mauvaise-organisation-secours-pakistanais-1419163.html

6500 people contributedf 158,000 euros for the rescue operation via crowdfunding. The French embassy were reimbursed 28,000 euros. The Polish govt offered their participation for free. The balance, 130,000 euros has gone to help Tomasz Mackiewicz's three children in Poland.
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@davidof,

Thanks for the update, I often stop and wonder how his poor kids are dealing with this now and how they will deal will it in the future.
Perhaps they will follow the same route as Tom Ballard.
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Never let it be said we don't keep you informed on snowheads

https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/auvergne-rhone-alpes/lettre-adieu-emouvante-alpiniste-elisabeth-revol-son-compagnon-mort-himalaya-1480059.html

from da Google Translate

Quote:
"Until now it was impossible for me to write this letter". Four months after the death in the Himalayas of her climbing partner, mountaineer Elisabeth Revol pays tribute to Tomek Mackiewicz by publishing a letter on his Facebook page.

Miraculously Nanga Parbat, Elizabeth Revol had come down alone last January, the "mountain killer". His climbing partner, Polish mountaineer Tomek Mackiewicz, could not be saved. Both tried to climb but were caught in bad weather. A rescue operation had been launched.


"I do not know when I started to lose you, when you crossed the point of no return, if you yourself felt it," writes Elisabeth Revol in her letter. "90 meters below the top, you were still very good, and then there was little talk, but no less or no more than before . "

Elisabeth Revol pays tribute to her companion, " You were a great man, a monument, a myth, a Nanga genie in winter, a passer of energy and envy, dreams and life".

The full letter can be found on Elisabeth Revol's Facebook page

The mountaineer had been miraculously saved. Suffering from frostbite on her feet, she had been taken care of, at a distance, by the Haute-Savoie emergency man Emmanuel Cauchy.


https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethRevolexpe/

Quote:
Little by little, my memory is animated, fills and my emotions translate into words. The pages fill up and I move in the fog, which is gradually thinning. My head is hanging on to tomek, au and those emotions that lived up there with him and then without him. When I'm alone, thousands of words, nuances, come to mind at the same time... may be the power of words to alleviate evil... I just think about it, thinking about his life, His philosophy, his art of living, his love of nanga... Until then it was impossible for me to write this letter... Tomek was one of the most free and independent men I know. He was out of order. The himalayisme he practiced on le in winter was his art of living... 10 years back, he wanted to live his adventures, without further ado, those that would allow him to realize his dreams, to feel the fullness of life, and to finally be him. He decided to break the frames and confront the unknown with Marek. He was leaving, guided by certainty: nothing is impossible for the one who gives the means... He dared to confront the dizziness of choice. On the eve of his 35th birthday, after several years of introspection, reflections... Tomek answered this question: why are we still prisoners of our lives (while being aware)? Tomek had decided freely to be free... Today I write you a farewell letter, but I'd rather not finish it by saying goodbye, because it's something that is still impossible. I've been through unique moments with you, I've felt extraordinary things, and we've done some beautiful and authentic things together. You will continue to be in me in many ways, because when you discover someone like you and let him enter his life as a climber, it is impossible to erase the tracks he is going to leave. Your smile will forever be engraved in my heart and the spark in your eyes will light my days. Every time you spoke, I saw magic in the eyes of those who listened to you. You were a great man, a monument, a myth, a génie genius in winter, a passeur of energy and envy. Dreams and life... Tomek is among those who have given me the desire to spend time on this mountain, to soak in his silence, to dare this step to the unknown, this step towards discovering oneself, this step towards discovering his possibilities ... it's with you up there that I understood what you felt, which led you to always go further and spend so much time up there. This impression of immensity that does not crush you, but gives us, on the contrary, desire to fly, to the top, summits, skies, space... Vertigo. The power of the universe as you said... I don't know when you crossed the extreme line, if I could have seen that sign. I don't know when I started losing you, when you crossed the point of no return, if you did, did you? 90 feet below the top, you were still fine. Then we didn't talk much, but no less or no more than before. We'd climb like this, concentrate... I don't know how it all went so that today we'd say goodbye. The only thing I feel is your absence, and a whole wave of feelings. We have climbed this difficult winter together, because we have built our history on our true emotions, this lifelong experience of life, elementary... You were a big-hearted man and you fought all the way down to the lowest possible to save my life. I owe you my life first, tomek, because if you hadn't had the strength and courage to beat you to go down to 7280 m during this cold, inhuman night, in survival mode, from 25 to January 26th, I won't be here, but I'll be with you... We both knew that we didn't have the right to make mistakes, we accepted it. If one crossed his limit, the other basculait... Meeting a person like you remains rare, exceptional. You were the gentleman of the nanga and you were once again on this mountain to not regret, to finish your project... and simply to live... Tomek, you had an infinite passion for this mountain, the gaze filled with energy for the nanga. You had the energy and the strength to live your dream and go to the end of your dream. The Nanga was your writing, your inspiration and the book of your life. On the nanga was born our cordée: a happy cordée, a unique link, the same state of mind. Tomek you went through my life like a stream of air that would have infused me with the energy of your mountain. You gave me your great and beautiful energy I take today with me. Tomek, beyond the nanga, you will remain for me an exceptional and unforgettable encounter. A meeting in the taste of dreams and adventures, a meeting in simple simplicity, a meeting that always keeps the taste both bitter and sweet of freedom. Thank you tomek for being what you were.
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http://youtube.com/v/kseSimC_Y7o


http://youtube.com/v/ITfJ70Q8Y_E
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Well he died doing what he chose to do. I guess his family will be comforted by that although presumably thinking that he chose a very risky path in life over and above the implications of the impact of the wrong fall of the dice on them.
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