The Slovenian climber
Tomaz Humar trapped for the past seven days on perched an icy ledge half way
up the precipitous Rupal face of the Killer Mountain Nanga Parbat, was
snatched from the jaws of death early by two Pakistan Army helicopters.
The operation commenced at 0530 hrs early Wednesday morning when the two Lamas
supported by one MI 17 helicopter landed at the Nanga Parbat Rupal Base camp
from Jaglot under very clear weather conditions. The Army Aviation crew
included Lama helicopter pilots Lt Col. Ubaid, Lt Col. Rashid Ullah Baig, Maj.
Naeem, Maj. Khalid and two pilots of the support MI 17 helicopters.
Tomaz was almost frozen as
the night was absolutely clear and cold with extremely low temperatures. He
kept himself warm by digging snow, barely hung on to the morning and then fell
asleep. It was the sound of the roaring helicopter directly next to him, which
woke him up.
The helicopter piloted by Lt
Col Ubaid and Maj. Naeem attempted to approach Tomaz flying perilously close
to the ice wall but could not position themselves on the waving alpinist
dressed in red. They gave way to the other hovering helicopter being piloted
by Lt Col Rashidullah and Maj Khalid, who flew their chopper with his blades
barely escaping collision with the rock wall hovered and lowered their
helicopter within metres of Tomaz. Tomaž waited, tied to two ice screws with a
loose prusik knot so he would not stagger while trying to catch the weights on
the rope. The helicopter approached him, dropped the rope, Tomaž caught it,
clipped onto it, raised his thumb to confirm he was OK and the helicopter
lifted up. The rescue turned dramatic as he had not managed to free himself
from the rope anchored to the mountain. As the helicopter pulled up luckily it
broke thus preventing a disaster.
In one of the hair raising
rescue ever attempted the Lama helicopter with hanging and crouched Tomaz on
the rope under helicopter’s belly descended for another 15 minutes and
appeared before the cheering team mates at the 3500 metres high base camp with
cameras capturing the drama. After getting helping hands from the other
helicopter crew who freed him from the rope Tomaž kissed the earth at 6.30
a.m. Actually, he fell on his knees since he could barely walk from
exhaustion. They laid him on the sleeping bag, he cried, hugged everyone
around him and continued paying his respect and gratitude to his rescuers. His
team mates immediately changed him out of the wet clothes and footwear – his
feet were at most risk.
Team Doctor Anda after his
check up pronounced Tomaz healthy except for swollen and slight frostbitten
feet. All Tomaž wanted to do was to drink and then words flew out of his
mouth. He decided to remain at base camp to rest, and is probably leaving for
It may be recalled that
earlier attempts made by Army helicopters on the afternoon of Aug 9 and by
another Allouette helicopter on Aug 6 had not succeeded in approaching him so
close due to bad weather conditions.
His family contacts were
informed and of the successful rescue. His close friend Nazir Sabir, President
Alpine Club of Pakistan who played a key role in organizing this rescue
operation remained in continuous contact with the base camp throughout this
rescue operation. He reeled down with tears in his eyes as he heard the
cheering voices at the base camp in the back ground.
Tomaz team mates were profuse
in their praise for the Pakistani pilots who enacted this most unique and
daring rescue in the entire Himalayan history.
The Foreign Minister Mr.
Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri who had been monitoring the rescue mission with
personal interest was briefed by Nazir Sabir on the successful rescue mission
immediately on completion.
Tomaz Humor, later speaking
on the Satellite telephone from the Base Camp in the afternoon with Nazir
Sabir, paid highest tributes to the daring pilots of Pakistan Army who rescued
him. He also thanked Foreign Minister Mr Khurshid Ahmad Kasuri, Govt of
Paksitan and Pakistan Army for taking personal interest in saving his life.
He commented “The Pakistan
Army helicopter pilots seemed to work magic and the coordination of the entire
rescue was absolutely outstanding. No Hollywood film could go any where near
what these men did on the deadly Rupal Face today, for which I congratulate
them. They make you a proud Pakistani”.
Recounting his feeling during
his ordeal he shared his heart with Nazir Sabir and choked with emotions
remarked that he has come to live another life and has pledged Aug 10 being
his new birthday.
Mr. Shoukat Sultan - Army
spokman, while briefing told the news that today very early in the morning two
Pakistan Army helicopter started the rescue mission taking the advantage of
freezing cold. But due to poor visibility it took them longer to finally
rescue Mr. Humar. First he was brought down to Nanga Parbat Base Camp where
Slovenian Expedition doctor examed Mr. Humar. After he was flown down to Army
hospital in Gilgit for further treatment. Mr. Humar is in stable condition and
out of danger. Mr. Humar was trapped on Rupal Wall on an altitude of 6000m
from 6 days.
Asghar Ali Porik
M/s JASMINE TOURS
24-Canning Road, GPO Box 859, Ist Floor, Ishaq Market, Saddar,
Tel: 0092-51-5586823 Fax: 0092-51-5584566
Another attempt to rescue the
stranded Slovenian climber Tomaz Humar was made today in the late afternoon by
Army helicopters which was later abandoned due to setting in of bad weather
and poor visibility.
Earlier, Mr. Nazir Sabir and
Col. Manzoor, President and executive V.P respectively of the Alpine Club held
another meeting with the Foreign Minister Mr. Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri.
Following their briefing on the latest situation, Mr. Kasuri coordinated with
the Interior Minister, the Defense Secretary, Minister of State for Defence
and Civil Aviation Authority who informed the Minister that landing permission
has been granted to any aircraft and helicopter that may arrive from
Switzerland to augment the rescue efforts.
Weather has continuously been
inclement with no break in the foggy and windy spell till late in the
afternoon. It has rained at the Base Camp and with continuous snowing at the
spot where Tomaz is stranded at 6000 meters.
The climber who is soaked and
suffering from inadequate nutrition resulting from shortage of food and severe
cold, is deteriorating fast.
In the morning of Tuesday an
Army Aviation team left Rawalpindi for the Nanga Parbat Base Camp to undertake
the rescue operations. However, the team comprising could not land at Base
Camp due to persistent bad weather. In a pleasing turn around, the weather
started clearing in the late afternoon and the three Army helicopters flew
into the Base Camp.
After getting due briefing
two Lama Helicopters flew from the Base Camp and after locating the besieged
climber circled within meters of him but were unable to close in on him due to
fading light conditions. The rescue operation has been postponed till early
morning on 10 August.
The weather is getting better
and as per Pakistan Met Dept. it is expected to remain clear for the next two
Renowned Slovenian alpinist
Tomaz Humar has been in a risky life and death situation on the Rupal Face of
Nanga Parbat for the last four days stuck at around 6000m to which he had
climbed down from 6400m he had attained on Thursday since his said "good bye"
to his fellows at Base Camp in the afternoon on Aug 01.
Tomaz Humar became extremely
famous for challenging some of the most dangerous mountain faces and
outstanding climbing pursuits in the European Alps and the Himalaya.
Tomaz Humar attempted the
unclimbed route on Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat also known as "Killer Mountain"
in 2003 but had to abandon due to bad weather conditions and his health
problems. But the ace climber from Slovenia returned to take on the same route
again this summer, when the weather has rather been most notorious for
climbers all over the northern Pakistan.
Since he reached BC weather
has been very bad but after a few clear days he climbed almost half way up the
Rupal face towards his target and the weather tricked him with horrible snow
conditions, fog, with thundering avalanches of freshly fallen all around him
making it impossible for him to either go up or down the same steps he climbed
up. Tomaz Humar is hanging on to this bird-like perch with the help of the few
rescue items he has like ice screws and some rope. It has been snowing for the
last 48 hours and nights and every few minutes avalanche activity is making it
impossible for this adventurer to make a move towards descent. He is
further jeopardized by physical deterioration as he has not been able to sleep
in wet snow conditions and cannot dry up which makes life a lot harder.
Knowing the worsening
condition minute by minute all evening through August 5 Mr. Tomaz made a
request through Base Camp over Radio to his longtime friend and coordinator
Nazir Sabir for heli rescue on Saturday evening at 6 p.m. who made an
immediate request for a Helicopter rescues and Tomaz tried to climb lower to
6000m to make it a bit easier for the helicopter rescue. He dug a snow hole
and counting days till a helicopter lifts him off the Rupal Face. But he also
knows he is losing time with every click of clock as the helicopters rescue
has so far been out of sight due to the bad weather conditions higher
Nazir Sabir talked to Tomaz
Humar four times via radio since Friday night and feels the climber is losing
psychological grip on his situation as he is counting days and consumes his
meager food sources. Tomaz complains of sleepless nights when all around him
the snow is sliding down the face.
Best possible efforts are
being made and there has appeal for his rescue since Friday evening. It is
understood that there have also been highest level contacts between Slovenian
and Pakistan authorities concerning rescue arrangements to save life of Tomaz
Humar by helicopter being the only option.
This a high profile emergency
as Tomaz Humar is a hero in Slovenia world’s most outstanding personality for
his great exploits in Alpinism and known for his daring solo climbs on world’s
most difficult mountains in recent times.
Nazir Sabir, President Alpine
Club of Pakistan, has appealed for his rescue. It can be a very positive image
building step as millions around the world are eagerly looking on Pakistan for
saving this precious life what may be considered is exploring the formation
of an expert group of rescuers with appropriate logistical support and
facilities acquired if possible. But these options need to be broached NOW
while there is time yet for this. For Pakistan having the Siachen experience
in hand his rescue will be a unique operation.
As of this evening Humar is
in possession of survival spirit but physical deterioration caused by altitude
will increase as the hours and minutes tick-by and rescue efforts are delayed
for one reason or the other. In the face of the weather reports time is
running out as the rations on the plate of Tomaz is in his ice cave and
aggressive efforts need to be made as time is slipping out of hand!!!
the above was the press release from the expedition
Attempts to rescue the famous
Slovenian climber TOMAZ HUMAR, who is trapped high on the steep rock slopes at
6000 meters were continued during the last two days. An Allouette helicopter
which flew to Astore on Saturday made two attempts on Sunday to reconnitre the
area and was able to come within 40 meters of the climber in high wind
conditions, but mist and clouds forced them to abandon further mission. The
flight however, succeeded in filming the climber’s location for future
Weather conditions on Nanga
Parbat, according to the Base Camp, continue to remain bad. It has been
snowing since 10 p.m. Sunday with no early clearing in sight. It is windy and
cloudy making it impossible for any attempt at heli rescue of Tomaz Humar who
continues to remain trapped on the Rupal face of the mountain for the fifth
day running. Hopefully when weather conditions improve after Tuesday more
rescue attempts will be launched by Pakistan Army Aviators to rescue Tomaz
Foreign Minister Mr. Khurshid
Mahmood Qasuri has directed the Army authorities to provide fullest support in
the evacuation of Slovenian climber Mr. Tomaz Humar. He was promptly reacting
to the briefing given to him by Nazir Sabir eminent mountaineer and President
Alpine Club of Pakistan and Col. Manzoor Hussain on the efforts being made on
rescue operation of the climber. Emphasizing on saving the mountaineer’s life
on humanitarian grounds at all costs, he said no effort should be spared in
also spoke to the Interior Minister Mr. Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao and requested
him to facilitate probable visit of helicopter or pilots arranged by the Govt.
Responding to an earlier
request made by Slovenian Foreign Minister he phoned his Slovenian counterpart
and assured fullest support of the Govt. of Pakistan in this matter. Assuring
of Pakistan’s capability to meet the situation he mentioned that Pakistan
would welcome and facilitate any logistical help in men or materials arriving
from Slovenia to augment the rescue operations.
Earlier Update: Tomaz Humar apparently has climbed himself into an area where
he cannot descend the mountain by himself. He has called for a helicopter
rescue. He is currently at 5900 meters.
Sabir, Everest and K2 Summiter, is helping with a helicopter rescue.
Apparently, they are going to try to "throw him a rope". They are going to try
on Monday, but the weather is expected to be very bad on Monday, so there
chances will be much better on Tuesday...
Himalayas are a great mountain range. The central Himalayan mountains are
situated in Nepal, while the eastern mountains extend to the borders of
Bhutan and Sikkim. The Nanga Parbat massif is the western corner pillar of
the Himalayas. It is an isolated range of peaks just springing up from
nothing, and is surrounded by the rivers Indus and Astore. Nanga Parbat or
"Nanga Parvata" means the naked mountain. Its original and appropriate
name, however, is Diamir the king of the mountains.
|Nanga Parbat Base Camp
(main peak) has a height of 8126 meters/26,660 ft. It has three vast faces.
The Rakhiot (Ra Kot) face is dominated by the north and south silver crags and
silver plateau; the Diamir face is rocky in the beginning. It converts itself
into ice fields around Nanga Parbat peak. The Rupal face is the highest
precipice in the world. Reinhold Messner, a living legend in mountaineering
from Italy, says that "every one who has ever stood at the foot of this face
(4500 meters) up above the 'Tap Alpe', studied it or flown over it, could not
help but have been amazed by its sheer size; it has become known as the
highest rock and ice wall in the world!".
has always been associated with tragedies and tribulations until it was
climbed in 1953. A lot of mountaineers have perished on Nanga Parbat since
1895. Even in recent years it has claimed a heavy toll of human lives of
mountaineers, in search of adventure and thrill. Its victims, have
included those in pursuit of new and absolutely un-climbed routes leading
to its summit.
It was in
1841 that a huge rock-slide from the Nanga Parbat dammed the Indus river. This
created a huge lake, 55 km long, like the present Tarbela lake down-stream.
The flood of water that was released when the dam broke caused a rise of 80 ft
in the river's 3 level at Attock and swept away an entire Sikh army. It was
also in the middle of the nineteenth century that similar catastrophes were
later caused by the damming of Hunza and Shyok rivers.
Parbat peak was discovered in the nineteenth century by Europeans. The
Schlagintweit brothers, who hailed from Munich (Germany) came in 1854 to
Himalayas and drew a panoramic view which is the first known picture of
Nanga Parbat. In 1857 one of them was murdered in Kashgar. The curse of
Nanga Parbat had begun.
|Nanga Parbat, Fairy
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