An elite group of mountain climbers have rescued a French mountaineer from a Himalayan peak in Pakistan but had to abandon the search for her climbing partner due to fierce weather conditions.
The four volunteer rescuers from a separate Polish expedition, with support from the Pakistani military, launched the attempt on Saturday to rescue stranded French mountaineer Elisabeth Revol.
But they were unable to reach Polish national Tomek (Tomasz) Mackiewicz on Nanga Parbat, a peak nicknamed the "killer mountain" after more than 30 climbers died trying to climb it before the first successful summit in 1953. The mountain is the ninth highest peak in the world at 8,126 metres (26,660 feet).
Ms Revol, who has frostbite on her feet, was brought on Sunday to the Pakistani capital Islamabad for treatment at the Shifa International Hospital, officials said. The 37-year-old physical education teacher from the Drome region in southern France was in stable condition and her wounds were not life threatening, hospital officials said. But the news for her climbing partner was grim.
"The rescue for Tomasz is unfortunately not possible – because of the weather and altitude it would put the life of rescuers in extreme danger," wrote Ludovic Giambiasi, a friend of Ms Revol, in a series of updates on Facebook. "It’s a terrible and painful decision," he wrote.
The pair ran into trouble after trying to make a late descent to a camp Thursday. They were trapped on the side of the mountain for the night without a tent, battered by frigid temperatures and high winds. The rescue mission was launched after the missing alpinists were located on Friday by fellow mountaineers using binoculars, who spotted Ms Revol attempting to climb down while Mr Mackiewicz appeared to be crawling due to frostbite.
The four rescuers who saved Ms Revol were flown by the Pakistani military from the base camp of K2 – the world’s second-highest peak – to reach the stranded climbers. They were part of a Polish expedition seeking to become the first mountaineers to summit K2’s peak during the winter, when good climbing days are rare.
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