Pakistan: Stranded mountaineers rescued from Rakaposhi

Two Czech climbers 2-1631715920857
Two Czech climbers Peter Macek and Jakub Vicek and Pakistani mountaineer Wajidullah Nagri with the local authorities of Gilgit Baltistan after the successful rescue operation. Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: After a hectic rescue operation that lasted three days, two Czech climbers Peter Macek and Jakub Vicek and their Pakistani colleague Wajidullah Nagri were rescued on Wednesday from the Rakaposhi Mountain in the Karakoram Range of Gilgit Baltistan (GB).

The three climbers were stranded in Camp III during their descent expedition after summiting the 7,788-metre high peak.

On Tuesday, the army aviation helicopter air-dropped food and other essential supplies, rope, radio sets and oxygen cylinders to make sure they gathered enough energy to resume their downward journey and reach a point from where the choppers could airlift them safely.

However, on Wednesday, Chief Minister of the GB Khalid Khurshid announced in a post on social media that the climbers stranded on the Rakaposhi mountain were successfully rescued with the help of Army Aviation.

“Efforts were underway for the last three days and the role of Army Aviation is commendable in the entire rescue operation,” said the GB Chief Minister in a tweet.

In another tweet, Khalid Khurshid said one of the members of the GB cabinet, Finance Minister Javed Manwa also accompanied the army rescue team and made sure the stranded climbers return safely.

Ali Sadpara’s son also among rescuers

The GB government had enlisted a team of expert climbers to partake in the rescue operation, which included Sajid Ali Sadpara, the son of legendary mountaineer Mohammad Ali Sadpara who died earlier this year during a winter expedition of K2.

The first few attempts to conduct a helicopter rescue mission failed due to rough weather conditions in the area. The mountaineers, however, were in contact with their families through satellite communication.

Secretary of the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) Karrar Haidri also confirmed that the three stranded climbers were successfully rescued by Army Aviation.

The climbers had submitted the Rakaposhi last Thursday and began the descent but were stuck while returning.

On Tuesday, too, helicopters tried to approach the mountain twice but thick clouds forced them back. The strong winds at around 60km/ph forced the choppers to abort the mission.

According to Haidri, from the ground side, a rescue team led by volunteer Abdul Joshi, the professional climber from Shimshal, took part in the operation. He was assisted by another strong man Kareem Hayat in the ground rescue mission. Joshi summited Annapurna with Sirbaz Khan last spring. He has volunteered to help, but he cannot do it alone.

The trio, according to Haidri, climbed the British SW Spur route from the Kunti Glacier but they didn’t fix ropes all the way up, and therein lay the problem.

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