Another Karakoram Heli Rescue

Posted on: July 28, 2008

Nearly a week after Italian alpinists Simon Kehrer and Walter Nones were rescued from Nanga Parbat (read the July 24, 2008 NewsWire), the Pakistani army pilots again flew Western mountaineers to safe ground. On July 27, 2008, four Austrians were plucked from Spantik (7027m) from an altitude of 5600m. Three of them were unharmed and were lowered to base camp, while the expedition leader was brought to the hospital in Skardu, Pakistan. Armin Liedl, a guide for Austrian outfitter Bergspechte, broke his leg on the mountain and asked for assistance on Friday, July 25. Due to poor weather conditions, July 27 presented the first opportunity to rescue the Austrians.


Meanwhile, Pakistani pilots are also involved in the search for 28-year-old Benjamin Cheek. This British alpinist was climbing on Shimshal Whitehorn (6303m) when his two companions lost contact with him on July 19, 2008 (read more in the July 28, 2008 NewsWire).

More information on these developing stories will be posted as it becomes available.


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Come on - back to you... I did not suggest that the Austrians should have turn down the assistance that modern technology offered. They were most fortunate that everything "worked" in their favor.

BTW - I have been injured twice in "wilderness" situations... once a broken leg while skiing - where I certainly appreciated any/all assistance that was available at the time... another was a broken heel while climbing - where I rescued myself. I also spent about 15 years professionally in search/rescue as an instructor and consultant - and participated in a number of wilderness climbing and skiing rescues - where nobody ever turned down my help.

But I digress... my comment was strictly an historical perspective, with a hypothetical question... which any mountaineer should ask of him/her self and mates.

Am I (are we) capable of self-rescue - technology notwithstanding?

If the answer is negative... perhaps some serious self-appraisal (and training) should be undertaken before relying/trusting solely on modern "technology".

Safe travels to all... but prepare for the worst. Hope you/we have been proactive, rather than just becoming reactive... when the s**t hits the fan and technology (can and will) fail.

2008-08-03 23:51:23

Come on - is that a reasonable comment? What would you do if you need to get help or help your friend? Would you really turn down all that is available to you to bring yourself or someone else to safety?

Taking that step does not demean the incredible efforts of those who preceded them. 30 years ago, I am sure these guys would have done everything possible to help their mate out. Would Doug Scott have turned down a helicopter ride to tough it out on his broken legs - I doubt it (Doug?).

Turning down "easy help" for the sake of being a hard man is inane.

This should get the thread rolling!

2008-08-03 20:54:26

Ah, yes... the days of sat phones & heli-rescue - flying right to a warm/cozy emerg ward! Man, what a life... gotta love modern mountaineering?

Doug Scott would have envied that... over 30 years ago - when he broke both his legs descending Baintha Brakk (somewhere around 7000m) and crawled 8 days back to the (abandoned) base camp... with another 10 days pack out from there.

Notwithstanding the unknown nature and severity of the Austrian's injury... I wonder what he & his mates might have done 30 years ago?

2008-07-28 18:27:42
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