Elisabeth Revol rescued and Tomek Mackiewicz presumed dead on Nanga Parbat

Posted on: January 31, 2018

Nanga Parbat (8126m). [Photo] Guilhem Vellut, WikimediaNanga Parbat (8126m). [Photo] Guilhem Vellut, Wikimedia

Elisabeth Revol of France has been rescued and Tomek Mackiewicz of Poland is presumed dead after they summited Nanga Parbat (8126m) in Pakistan for the mountain's second winter ascent.

Masha Gordon, a friend of Revol's, said the pair summited on January 25.


This was Mackiewicz's seventh trip to climb the mountain in winter, and Revol partnered with him for at least three of those expeditions, including an attempt in 2015 when they reached 7800 meters. (Nanga Parbat's first winter ascent was achieved in 2016 by Simone Moro of Italy, Ali Sadpara of Pakistan and Alex Txikon of Spain.)

On this trip, Revol and Mackiewicz reportedly launched their summit push on January 20 and summited January 25. On January 26 the weather had deteriorated with high winds. Mackiewicz had become snow-blind, he had extensive frostbite, and he was disoriented and unable to move independently. After calling for a rescue, Revol secured him in a sleeping bag inside a crevasse at 7280 meters and continued down alone for help.

A Polish team attempting the first winter ascent of K2 (8611m) responded to the call for rescue: Jaroslaw Botor, Denis Urubko, Adam Bielecki and Piotr Tomala were helicoptered by the Pakistan Army to Nanga Parbat on January 27. According to K2 expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki, two helicopters had to make multiple attempts to land at Camp I (4900m) on the Kinshofer Route. At about 5:30 p.m. Urbuko and Bielecki—who Wielicki said were "best acclimatized"—started climbing the Kinshofer Route while Botor and Piotr Tomala set up Camp I.

Wielicki reported that Urubko and Bielecki climbed 1100 meters and established voice contact with Revol "slightly above the second camp at about 6100 meters." Her hands and left foot were frostbitten. The three stayed in Camp II for four hours in "very difficult conditions" with strong winds and severe cold that was about -31°F, and then Urubko and Bielecki "started lowering Revol" to the base of the wall at approximately 5000 meters, where "she made the rest of the way to Camp I by herself."

The climbers were evacuated by helicopter from Camp I at 4 p.m. on January 28 after the rescue team had been on the go for 28 hours. The four Polish K2 expedition members returned to K2 base camp where they plan to continue their winter attempt. K2 is the last 8000-meter peak that has yet to be summited in winter.

According to the New York Times, high winds of more than 50 mph and a wind chill of nearly -80°F have halted efforts to reach Mackiewicz.

Masha Gordon started a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe.com to pay for the rescue; the page is now dedicated to help support Mackiewicz's wife and his three children.

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Base Camp Magazine

1) ^<a href="https://basecampmagazine.com/2018/02/03/vanessa-obrien-thinks-the-nanga-parbat-rescue-could-have-climbed-higher-to-save-tomasz-mackiewicz/"^>One Saved One Perishes on Nanga Parbat

2018-02-26 22:12:52
Base Camp Magazine

Here are the sources in order.

1) ^<a href="http://www.basecampmagazine.com/2018/01/29/one-saved-one-perishes-on-nanga-parbat-during-winter-expedition/"^>One Saved, One Perishes on Nanga Parbat

2) The 1996 Everest Disaster - The Whole Story

3) Vanessa O'Brien Thinks Nanga Parbat Rescue Could Have Done More

4) The 2008 K2 Disaster

2018-02-26 22:10:39
Base Camp Magazine

Just to confirm what @Pitz said, @Jamieson, our answers are as follows:

1) No, Tomek was alive when Elisabeth helped him into a crevasse to wait out the night while she went and got help. He was frostbitten and suffering from hypoxia. More here https://basecampmagazine.com/2018/01/29/one-saved-one-perishes-on-nanga-parbat-during-winter-expedition/

2) It depends on the individual, some climbers survive in a catatonic state for hours, others are awake and die within the day. In the case of the 1996 Everest Disaster, Rob Hall survived 2 days on the South Summit before he eventually died. Others on the same expedition did not survive the night. We have more here: https://basecampmagazine.com/2016/12/31/the-1996-everest-disaster-the-whole-story/?wref=tp

3) No, at the time that Elisabeth met with the rescue team from K2, it was decided that they would all leave together and that nothing could be done for Tomek. He was pronounced dead at that time, however, no one really knows if he was dead at that time or not. This provoked some controversy, notably with Vanessa O'Brien who felt more should have been done. https://basecampmagazine.com/2018/02/03/vanessa-obrien-thinks-the-nanga-parbat-rescue-could-have-climbed-higher-to-save-tomasz-mackiewicz/

4) It is very common to leave climbers who cannot descend under their own power. At those heights, especially if a climber is in the death zone, it poses a very dangerous risk to try and help someone down when you need all the energy you have to get yourself down. 3-4 gasps at those heights are one regular breath at normal elevation for a healthy person. Trying to help someone down who cannot move, is too injured to move, is comatose, is dying can lead to your own death or the death of anyone trying to help, as was the case with Jehan Baig during the 2008 K2 Disaster when he attempted to help the Serbian team and Fredrik Sträng bring down the body of Dren Mandić. https://basecampmagazine.com/2018/02/12/the-2008-k2-tragedy/

5) The likelihood that he would have survived more than a day is very low. In all honesty, if the team had made the effort to go up and help him, if he could not walk on his own, he wasn't going to get down. If he was as injured as described, he probably would have died either way.

Thanks for reading, hope this helps.

2018-02-26 22:02:03

1) no 2) probably he would not survive a second night. But there was no other option other than let him alone. 3) probably no 4) above 7000 metres very common 5) zero.

2018-02-02 15:16:22

I have some questions related to Tomasz Mackiewicz I was hoping someone can answer.

1) Was he deceased when left in the cravass?

2) How long would be likely have lived for if left for dead?

3) Understanding that these things happen in alpine climbing will there be any effort to recover his body?

4) How common is it to leave a person who is injured on the mountain?

5) What is the likelihood that he is still alive on the mountain today?

2018-02-01 12:27:03
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