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Author Topic: Tomaz Humar was rescued in a Karakorum drama last week  (Read 4233 times)

Karrar Haidri

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At first, not much happened, and then the ball began to roll. A Pakistani helicopter could not land in Base Camp due very strong winds. Didier Delsalle (the Everest chopper pilot) put the team together with Swiss pilots. The B3 "Everest mystery chopper" was located to the French Alps, but logistic problems ruled it out. In a renewed attempt, the Pakistani helicopter flew over the mountain twice in a dangerous mission: The pilots picked up Aleš Koželj, flew over the face and photographed the situation.

Chopper reached 6100m, pilot risked his life The pilot made the chopper reach 6100m – thus risking his own life. Back on ground, Ales and the pilot reckoned it would be better if they had a stronger helicopter to their disposal - a plan was made to lift Tomaz off the wall with a rope. Flycom and the home team now approached the Pakistan Army for help. Meanwhile, pilots of Air Zermatt rescue (Switzerland), were getting ready to fly to Islamabad.

High up on the wall, Tomaz was silent No food, gas running out, and only 4 batteries left for his VHF Tomaz said he was very cold and feared frostbite when he finally came on air. At 5900 meters, avalanches forced him to constantly dig his way out. He was lying on a shelf, head-first in a U-shaped tunnel. "I can't stay long like this, this is not a bivouac, water is pouring down on me and freezing on me," he said, after nearly a week totally exposed on the wall.

But now things began to look up: After a long spell of lousy conditions, Jure, the weather man from Slovenia promised a sneak break in the weather for Wednesday. Pakistani Minister Kasuri in turn promised every possible assistance in the attempts to save Tomaz Humar's life - a carte blanche was issued to all available help no matter nationality. Messner, who lost his own brother on the same Rupal face, said that Tomaz is among the world's best climbers and a rescue with a rope is a good idea. Nazir Sabir was coordinating the local efforts and Menno Boermans reported from Zermatt that Swiss rescue pilots were en route. A world-vide race was on to save Tomaz Humar.

Rescue helicopters in BC! All of a sudden they showed up in the sky: Three helicopters, two of them the much wished for Lama's, arrived in BC. It was the Pakistan Army guys and they were on a mission. Thick fog was still wrapping the mountain, but the army pilots collected information on Tomaz, studied the recon images and rigged the rope. They synchronized their radios with Tomaz, and agreed on signs for their mutual communication (the most important one being thumbs up).

He was literally at the end of his rope. At the very last minute - the Pakistan Army rescue team finally snatched Tomaz Humar of the terrifying face early Wednesday morning. Both Lama choppers went up. Tomaz woke from a brief snooze after a sleepless night, at the sound of roaring chopper blades. “I can see it,” he screamed into the radio. At the same time, the pilot confirmed he was spotting an alpinist dressed in red.

Hovering very close to the face, at risk of smashing against the wall with an unexpected gust of wind, the helicopter approached Tomaz and dropped the rope. Tomaz caught it, wrapping it around himself, raised his thumb to confirm he was ok and the helicopter flew up. Except Tomaž was tied to two ice screws and he had not freed himself from the prusik. Luckily, it tore - Tomaž was carried, hung on a rope, all the way down to BC. At 6.30 a.m. Tomaz kissed the ground.

Tomaz home team, Nazir Sabir, and the pilots Col. Ubaid, Maj. Naeem, Col. Rashid Ulah Baig and Maj. Khalid), the Pakistani army, Pakistani and Slovene governments - those were all heroes in the past week. As for Tomaz, he rode off to the sunset, his toes red but otherwise very much alive.


Slovenian ace Tomaz Humar was attempting a new route on the sheer Rupal face of Nanga Parbat, climbing alone in very bad conditions. Without visibility, Tomaz got stuck in a labyrinth of Ice and unsettled snow, unable neither to climb further up nor to descend due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.

He was trapped on a ridge with snow slides running all around him, crouched in a tiny snow-hole for six days. Rescue operations started days ago – but bad weather had thwarted all efforts until today.

More than 4500m-long, Nanga Parbat’s Rupal face is considered the biggest wall in the world. Today, only three routes have been successfully climbed there: Messner's (a.k.a German-Italian route), the Polish-Mexican route, opened by Carlos Carsolio and Jerzy Kukuczka, and Schell's route.

This was the second attempt on Rupal’s face for Tomaz Humar, but it was the first time he actually set foot on the new route. Two years ago, health problems and deep snow forced the climber to abort the expedition during the acclimatization stage on Messner route

Tomaz Humar was born on February 18, 1969 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He currently lives in Stranje and works for the Customs Office in Ljubljana. He has been a member of the Kamnik branch of the Alpine Club since 1987, and completed 1500 ascents, 70 of them first ascents at home and abroad.

Tomaz most remarkable climbs have been tough climbs at slightly lower altitudes: New routes on Ama Dablam, Lobuche, Nuptse West, Dhaulagiri (no summit), Aconcagua South face, etc.

About his hardest climbs, he told "A couple of times I had really close calls, for example, on Annapurna, I was caught in a storm above 7500m all alone for three days. Maybe that was the first time I was scared. Dhaulagiri was very hard and very dangerous too, but Nuptse was my hardest, because my partner died on the summit."

for more detail visit www.k2climb.net
info@saltorosummits.com
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Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall — it's great when you stop."   
 Chris Darwin.
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