Surviving Mountaineer Shares her Ordeal, Blames Pakistan Rescue Squads
French mountain climber Elisabeth Revol blamed a slow response time by Pakistani rescue operations for the death of her climbing companion.
Revol and Tomacz “Tomek” Mackiewicz had been climbing the Nanga Parbat in the Pakistani Himalayas when they were stranded by severe weather conditions. According to Revol, Mackiewicz suffered from snow blindness, disorientation and frostbite and could not make the descent. She left him to seek help.
"I have a lot of anger said Revol. “We could have saved 'Tomek' if it had been a real help, taken in time and organized,” said the survivor of Nanga Parbat, during a press conference in Chamonix. She had been rescued ten days ago.
After contacting Pakistani rescue teams, she was told that a helicopter would arrive in less than three hours if she could descend to a landing point. The help never came, said Revol.
“There were lies of Pakistanis on the availability, reservation and capacity of helicopters,” said Ludovic Giambiasi, a close friend.
While on the mountain, Revol sent SOS messages to Giambiasi and her husband Jean-Christophe, before her GPS device died. Giambiasi was able to coordinate and dispatch the two Polish mountain climbers who made a daring nighttime ascent to reach Revol and bring her to safety. She recounted seeing the flashlights from below and thinking she was going to survive the ordeal.
"It's a race against the clock when you set off a rescue," Revol said.
The 37-year-old mountaineer suffered frostbite injuries to both hands and her left foot. She is currently receiving intensive treatment at Sallanches hospital, Haute-Savoie, to try to avoid amputation of her left foot, according to France 24.
Mackiewicz's widow, Anna Antonina Solska, expressed her "deep gratitude" to Revol for helping her husband to a landing point where rescue helicopters could more easily pick him up.
Revol wishes there would have been a faster response time by Pakistani rescue crews. She also blamed herself for not having insisted that her climbing partner where his goggles while atop the peak, convinced that his blindness triggered his decline.
Nanga Parbat, often called “killer mountain” is the world’s ninth tallest peak at nearly 27,000 feet. It is an especially treacherous mountain to climb in winter conditions. Both Revol and Mackiewicz have attempted to reach the summit several times since 2011.
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