French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol was rescued off of Nanga Parbat. Her Partner, Tomasz “Tomek” Mackiewicz was left behind.
PAKISTAN – One climber has been rescued from Nanga Parbat and one perished during winter expeditions on the “Killer Mountain.”
French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol was rescued off of Nanga Parbat after an ill-fated storm trapped her and her climbing partner above 25,000 ft (7620 m).
Her climbing partner, Polish native Tomasz “Tomek” Mackiewicz, had to be left behind due to his severe injuries and physical condition.
Mackiewicz was in the process of making a seventh attempt at an ascent of Nanga Parbat during a winter expedition. Mackiewicz was last sheltering in a crevasse Revol had placed him in after having been afflicted by frostbite and snow blindness. Both of these conditions, together, make a deadly combination brought on by extreme exposure during high-altitude climbs.
The rescue was conducted by a team of Polish volunteers, who were airlifted from nearby K2 via helicopter and flown to Nanga Parbat to rescue Revol.
The team was able to reach Revol, however, they could not bypass the storm that created a barrier between them and Mackiewicz.
At the time of this writing, Mackiewicz has been declared dead.
The “Killer Mountain”
Nanga Parbat is considered one of the deadliest mountains on record. It’s nicknamed the “Killer Mountain” and is the world’s ninth highest mountain. It is one of the 8000ers, which are mountains that are above 26,247 ft (8,000 meters).
Many have attempted records on Nanda Parbat and have failed. The mountain has claimed many excellent and experienced climbers throughout the years. Notably, Nanga Parbat was the mountain that claimed the life of famed Mountaineer Reinhold Messner’s brother, Günther Messner, in 1970. More recently, it claimed the lives of Alberto Zerrain and Mariano Galvan in the summer of 2017.
Zerain was a survivor of the 2008 K2 Tragedy that also involved Swedish climber Fredrik Sträng. Zerain, who was on a solo expedition, was the first to climb and descend K2 successfully during that expedition; 11 other climbers would perish.
Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi also lost their lives on Nanga Parbat after going missing during a winter expedition in 2019.
Trouble During the Revol/Mackiewicz Expedition
Both Revol and Mackiewicz had attempted to climb Nanga Parbat during the winter before. This was Revol’s third attempt with Mackiewicz as a partner.
Just above 24,000 ft, the expedition experienced rough weather and Mackiewicz was affected by frostbite and snow blindness.
Revol assisted Mackiewicz in descending further down the mountain before placing him in a tent to shelter out the weather.
Revol continued to descend on her own in an attempt to call for help and explain the condition of her partner. Shortly after, a worldwide effort to fund a rescue mission for Revol began. Masha Gordon registered a GoFundMe page with the aim of raising €150,000 for the rescue expedition.
Diplomats made appeals to the government of Pakistan for a rescue, and nearby Mountaineers, who are attempting a winter ascent of K2, volunteered for the rescue mission.
The rescue mission began on Saturday after enough money was raised for a helicopter to transport the volunteer climbers from K2 to Nanga Parbat Base Camp situated at 15,748 ft. (4800 meters).
Revol was airlifted to a hospital in Islamabad to recover from her harrowing experience.
Over €132,256 had been raised through the GoFundMe page. The leftover funds will be donated to Mackiewicz’s family.
Mackiewicz’s wife wrote on his Facebook page that prior to succumbing to altitude sickness, both Mackiewicz and Revol did summit the mountain stating,
“Tomek and Elisabeth entered the top of nanga parbat
Tomek and Elisabeth summitted nanga”
The volunteers from the 2018 Winter K2 Expedition rejoined their team. The rescue mission did not have an effect on their plan to Summit K2 in the winter. Their plan was to bet the first to conquer the summit during a winter expedition. But, the team did not succeed.
They did set a precedent though. The team was the first to conduct a rescue mission on Nanga Parbat while on a Winter Expedition to K2. In 2019, Alex Txikon joined the list having volunteered for the rescue mission of Tom Ballard and Daniele Nardi on Nanga Parbat during his own Winter Expedition to K2.
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Domonoske, C. (2018, January 29). After Harrowing Weekend Rescue, One Climber Saved, One Lost To ‘Killer Mountain’. Retrieved January 29, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/01/29/581530678/after-harrowing-weekend-rescue-one-climber-saved-one-lost-to-killer-mountain