Avalanche Strikes Indian 7,000’er, Renowned Scientist Missing

Climbing Mountain
Peter Wittek.

Peter Wittek, a 37-year-old world-renowned computer scientist from the University of Toronto, is missing and presumed dead on 7,120m Trisul. The Hungarian national was part of a six-man team, which had been on the mountain near Nanda Devi in northern India for 16 days when an avalanche hit their camp at over 5,000m on September 29.

The other five climbers, Singaporeans Nicholas Chee, Kong Xieheng, and Ong Siong Hwai, Vietnamese Vu Giang Thanh, and Mauritian Teshil Prashin Gangaram escaped unscathed and made their way down to Base Camp after failing to locate Wittek.

The State Disaster Response Force searched Wittek’s last-known location, to no avail. Poor weather delayed their early efforts.

While Wittek’s brother, Gergo Oberfrank, said at the time, “I believe that Peter is waiting for us to find him and he has the skills and the spirit to survive,” it would appear that any hope of finding the stricken climber alive is now over.

Wittek had previously climbed Kosciuszko, Kilimanjaro, Peak Lenin, Mont Blanc and Aconcagua.

Sunset on Trisul. In 1907, the mountain became the first 7000’er to be climbed. Photo: Michael Scalet

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About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK. He juggles a day job as a public health scientist with a second career in outdoor writing.

His words have featured in national newspapers, international magazines, and on various websites. Major bylines include Financial Times, Daily Telegraph, Porsche, Outside Magazine, Rock and Ice, and Red Bull.

He holds two degrees in Exercise and Health Sciences, and a PhD in Public Health.

His areas of expertise are polar expeditions, mountaineering, hiking, and adventure travel. In his spare time Ash enjoys going on small independent sledding expeditions, outdoor photography, and reading adventure literature.

Read more at www.ashrouten.com or follow Ash via @ashrouten on Twitter and Instagram.

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Trish
Trish
1 year ago

He was one of the worlds leading scientists and researcher in quantum machine learning/super computing and artificial intelligence. I hope they find him soon.

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Not an Everest Climber
Not an Everest Climber
1 year ago

Little bit of trivia on Trisul – the true summit of Trisul has only been climbed twice. The latest one being two climbers led by Martin Moran (RIP) back in 2017. Everyone else who has claimed to have “summitted” Trisul has not actually reached the true summit.

I tried to get a permit for Trisul last year and the year before but apparently it was difficult to get one. Although being 7000m high, it’s frequented by Indian teams (most of who have never set foot on a big peak before).

RIP Peter. Your revolutionary ways will be missed.

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damiengildea
Editor
1 year ago

Interesting. Do you have a link or some source for the summit issue?

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