ISLAMABAD — A French climber rescued from a Himalayan peak is recovering and will soon return home, Pakistani officials said.
Elisabeth Revol, suffering from frostbite and exhaustion, was rescued by volunteers from a separate Polish expedition on Sunday from Nanga Parbat, also known as “killer mountain.”
She was airlifted to Islamabad and was being treated at the Shifa International Hospital. Karrar Haidri, a senior official in the Pakistan Alpine Federation who visited her in the hospital, said she would be discharged within hours and head home early Tuesday.
The search for Revol’s fellow climber, Polish national Tomasz Mackiewicz, was called off due to worsening weather conditions. He has been declared deceased.
One of the rescuers, Adam Bielecki, said the rescue was very difficult because they were scaling a steep, ice-covered slope at night in wind and very low temperatures.
“We knew that the clock was ticking and we had very little time,” because weather forecasts spoke of intensifying wind, Bielecki said on Polish TVN24.
“Our motivation was to save human life and that’s a very, very strong motivation,” he said. He said had met Revol and Mackiewicz on previous expeditions.
Bielecki and Denis Urubko, a Russian climber with Russian and Polish citizenship, reached Revol after a climb of some eight hours to the height of about 7,400 meters (24,278 feet) above sea level.
Bielecki said they found her exhausted but conscious. They gave her frostbite medication and nutrients, and after some rest began to slowly lower her down on ropes. She was then taken to the hospital by a Pakistani helicopter. They did not reach Mackiewicz, who was higher up.
“We feel great joy that we were able to save Elizabeth Revol’s life,” Bielecki said. “On the other hand, we are very sad that we were not able to do more for Tomek,” he said.
Two other members of the rescue team, Piotr Tomala and Jaroslaw Botor, were waiting lower down, in a temporary camp. All four are members of a Polish expedition that will attempt the first-ever winter ascent of K2, the world’s second tallest mountain. They volunteered for the rescue.
Janusz Majer, who supervises the Polish expedition, said that Poland’s Foreign Ministry paid for the use of the helicopters. Speaking to The Associated Press, he praised the bravery of the Pakistani pilots who agreed to fly in the high mountains in very difficult weather.
Revol and Mackiewicz were attempting to summit Nanga Parbat, the ninth highest peak in the world at 8,126 meters, or 26,660 feet.
Bielecki said Revol told him they had made it to the top before their problems began. Majer said Mackiewicz, who started climbing a few years ago, had dreamed of scaling Nanga Parbat in winter.
Scislowska reported from Warsaw.