Remembering Zsolt Torok

Mountain
Photo: Ghidul Aradean

Romanian mountaineer Zsolt Torok perished in a solo fall last week in the Fagaras Mountains. It is believed that a hold broke while he was traversing the Sawtooth Ridge east of Negoiu Peak, a rarely traveled 3A route known for its unstable rock.

In 2013, Zsolt and his team reached the summit of Nanga Parbat, in an unsupported no-oxygen push up the rarely climbed Schell route. The climb took place in the aftermath of the tragedy at the Diamir Base Camp. Zsolt and his friends struggled with the decision whether to continue. Eventually they did, and they became only the seventh party to complete the Schell route.

A year earlier, Zsolt had mounted a solo expedition on the Kinshoffer route. The conditions on the mountain were extremely difficult — deep snow and bad weather – and soon he was the only climber left in BC.

One night, an avalanche buried BC while he and his cook were sleeping. They lost some gear but avoided major injury. During the next weather window, Zsolt made a solo summit attempt. For five days, he broke trail through snow up to his neck, as he self-belayed up the Kinshoffer Wall. The effort ended around Camp 3, when he confronted a 100m high blue ice wall that he could not tackle with the ill-suited crampons he had borrowed after his own were lost in the avalanche.

In 2018, Zsolt established a new route up Pumori (7,161m), with Romeo Popa and Teofil Vlad, that he called The Voyage of the Little Prince.

“The purest and most beautiful soul has left us,” wrote his wife, Laura Nadabn, from their home city of Arad.

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