Thursday, August 20, 2009

Latok II Rescue

Still haven't left Pakistan.

Myself, Chris and Fabrizio just returned to Skardu yesterday. We had returned previously from K2 of course, but circumstances changed when we heard of a Spanish climber trapped on the NW ridge of Latok II, a 7100 meter peak off the Biafo glacier. Two climbers had been climbing this route from the North when they had an accident around 6300 or 6400 meters. The uninjured climber climbed down and contacted his climbing club in Spain who sent the word out that rescuers were needed. Rather than restate the whole story I'll just say that it can be read about here:

Fabrizio took a preliminary flight out to the mountain on the 11th, returning with the uninjured climber on the 12th to plan the rescue. Fabrizio flew out again on the 13th with three Spanish climbers. Logistics were very difficult and it was not until the 14th that Chris and I flew out on an MI-17 helicopter with the rest of a team of climbers from Spain.

Needless to say, we were extremely disappointed to be calling off the rescue attempt. But there was no way we were going to reach the stranded climber. Weather turned very foul and with the long amount of time this guy had been up there it had become very unlikely that he could survive.

On our second day at K2 basecamp people watched as an Italian skier fell to his death below Camp 2 on the Cesen route. Those of us that hadn't seen it grabbed our bags, medical kit, stretcher and were ready for a rescue. In the end, it was only a recovery effort. We removed his body from the mountain and put him into a temporary grave in the ice. Standing around we were all silent and contemplative. One person said, "we did not know him, but he was one of us," and he began to cry. As I walked back to BC that day I thought about this and cried too. So for Oscar as well, although we did not know him, he was one of us. May he rest in peace.

1 comment:

  1. It's true: "We did not know him, but he was one of us."