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Nanga Parbat, the Killer Mountain, is the ninth highest mountain in the world. With an elevation of 8,126M, it has got the highest Mountain Face in the world, Rupal Face. First summitted in 1953 by Austrian Climber Hermann Buhl, it claimed 31 lives before this first attempt. With 2nd highest mortality rate, the mountain earns its name “The Man Eater” and “The Killer Mountain”
This post is about the famous attempt & rescue of Polish Climber Tomek Mackiewicz & French Climber Elisabeth Revol. They came to summit this beast in winters of 2017/18. Tomek was trying to achieve this goal for long and it was his Seventh Attempt on Nanga Parbat. Both of them are accomplished climbers and mountaineers. While the mountain was first summitted in winters by Alex Txikon, Muhammad Ali Sadpara & Simone Moro in 2016. Alex Txikon & Muhammad Ali Sadpara goes on to summit Mount Everest during winters of 2017/18, without using supplemental oxygen. Another team comprising mainly of polish climbers is attempting to summit K-2 in winters, during the same period.
Tomek on Nanga Parbat
Here’s a timeline of their attempt on Nanga Parbat:
16 December, 2017: The team arrived at Islamabad, Pakistan to formally start their winter expedition.
24 December, 2017: The team arrived at the Nanga Parbat Base Camp, Diamer Face.
3 January, 2018 at 18:20 hours: The duo reached at 6,000 meters to acclimatize.
15 January, 2018: The duo reached 6,700 meters, Strong Winds, Temperature reaching -45 degrees Celsius.
24 January, 2018: They reached 7,300 meters. Hoping to summit Nanga Parbat on 25th January, 2018
25 January, 2018: Communication lost with the Base Camp. Last seen at 7,400 meters.
26 January, 2018: Base Camp called Pak Army Aviation for the rescue, crowdfunding campaign started to assist rescue. 4 Climbers from the K-2 volunteer to rescue the stranded team on Nanga Parbat. Strong winds & Lower Clouds at the K-2 Base Camp resists to the helicopter flight.
27 January, 2018: Helicopters started their journey from K-2 Base Camp, taking with them Russian Mountaineer, Denis Urubko & Polish Mountaineers Adam Bielecki, Piotr Tomala & Jarek Botor and took them to Nanga Parbat. The helicopters dropped the mountaineers at around 4,900 meters. Urubko & Bielecki started their fast ascend towards the top, alpine style, while Piotr & Jarek started up slowly with loads of equipment to assist the stranded mountaineers.
28 January, 2018: Urubko & Bielecki met Elisabeth at around 6,026 meters at around 12:00 AM local time. Elisabeth was having frost bite on 5 toes on her left foot. The weather was deteriorating, a snow-storm was forecast. Rescuers decided to help Elisabeth with her descend. They reached Base Camp early in the morning. Bad Weather prevented helicopter to fly. While Tomek is left by Elisabeth in a tent at 7,400 meters, the previous night. Elisabeth decided to bring up some help and left Tomek there.
Elisabeth reached Islamabad and was immediately taken to the hospital for the frostbite. Meanwhile, Urubko & Bielecki decided not to go back & endanger themselves due to the snow storm, which has just started, leaving Tomek Mackiewicz to die, alone and peacefully.
Nanga Parbat in Winters
Nanga Parbat in Winters was a dream of Tomek. This dream kept him to visit the mountain every year. This was his Seventh Attempt on the mountain. While it was a dream for many mountaineers to summit K-2 in winters. Urubko, Bielecki, Piotr & Jarek were in Pakistan to make that dream came true. They let go their dreams to rescue fellow climbers. In fact they marked it very high, the courage they showed to rescue on such daring and killing mountain and the resilience put forwarded by all of them to safely return to their homes. The community salutes you and the history would pay with the best of the tributes for you guys.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Tomek, his family & friends. Mountaineering Community was saddened by the loss of Tomek, although everyone was praying for a miracle like happened before with Beck Weather on Everest in 1996 & with Licoln Hall in 2006. Miracles do happens and this was a miracle for Elizabeth. For the rescuers, I must say “Impossible isn’t Polish”.
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