Rakaposhi: Climbers Stranded in Bad Weather, and a Diplomatic Mess

Climbing Karakorum
Stranded climbers' location on Rakaposhi. Photo: Karim Shah

Bad weather has stranded climbers Jakub Vlcek, Peter Macek, and Wajidullah Nagri in Camp 3 on Rakaposhi. Camped at 6,900m, the climbers have already been stuck for two days. To make matters worse, Czech climbers Vicek and Macek were apparently climbing without a permit. This has complicated the bureaucracy required for rescue operations in Pakistan.

Choppers on the way

According to Ashgar Ali Porik (CEO of Jasmine Tours Pakistan) and Karim Shah Nizari (a local climber), the rescue operation is going ahead despite the bureaucratic issues. As soon as the weather allows, two army helicopters will pick up professional climber Abdul Joshi and two more climbers from Hunza. They will then head to Rakaposhi.

In a recent update, Nizari reports that the helicopters are getting ready at Gilgit airbase. After refueling, they will move to Rakaposhi, even though the mountain is wrapped in low clouds. Since his post, the government has not confirmed whether the choppers have left, or who will foot the bill.

“The Czech Republic embassy must help,” Porik wrote on Twitter. “These illegal activities put the host country in a dislike[sic] situation. The government of Pakistan is ready to organize the rescue mission, but the Czech Embassy and insurance (Europe Assistance Prague) need to act very quickly.”

Porik confirmed that the climbers had no permit and had not hired any of the local outfitting companies to manage logistics.

The climbers’ approximate location on Google Maps. Photo: KrissAnnapurna

Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister of Tourism, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, has issued an official statement on social media: “The Czech Republic mountaineers went up prior to the issuance of a government NOC (No Objection Certificate), which is unethical. We do expect…such expeditions to comply with laws and regulations for their own safety and well-being in the face of emergencies.”

His statement suggests that the climbers did ask for a permit, but set off for the mountain before the government granted it.

In any case, it is unlikely that the helicopters can reach 6,900m. The stranded climbers will probably need to descend at least as far as Camp 2, or a ground team will need to go up and try to reach them. This presents yet another problem: It is unclear which route the climbers followed. There is no information on ropes, camps, or the stranded climbers’ condition.

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About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Senior journalist, published author and communication consultant. Specialized on high-altitude mountaineering, with an interest for everything around the mountains: from economics to geopolitics. After five years exploring distant professional ranges, I returned to ExWeb BC in 2018. Feeling right at home since then!

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lopez
lopez
3 days ago

climbing w/o a permit in pakistan? are they nuts? These are grown men not 17 old dudes. Totally irresponsible and negligent.

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Marie
Marie
3 days ago
Reply to  lopez

Apparently they applied for a permit but set out before it was granted, and hey, they are suffering up there, please show some respect.

+3
Craig Quigley
Craig Quigley
3 days ago
Reply to  Marie

And one of the reasons they may have to suffer longer, is because they didn’t have a permit.

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Tara
Tara
2 days ago
Reply to  lopez

Them Czechs are well known for this kind of actions. They are frequently doing similar stuff in my country (in Europe), too. If you see an illegal camper in the wild of a National park where camping is strictly forbidden, you can bet it’s Czech. It seems like they have some kind of zest for it, going illegally seems to be part of their adventure plus they save some money as a side effect. Mountain rescuing teams know them well, too, they keep getting in truble more than anyone else. But they are mostly good, nice people, so we tend… Read more »

John
John
21 hours ago
Reply to  Tara

this is just blatant racism…

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Tara
Tara
12 hours ago
Reply to  John

No, it’s not racism, it’s statistics of illegal camping in National Park and mountain rescuing. I didn’t judge their beings, I didn’t say they were worth less than any other people. But National Park statistics shows Czech are by far the most frequent illegal campers. It’s funny you call it racism 😁

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John
John
1 hour ago
Reply to  Tara

Where can I see these statistics? Assuming you can provide some well documented evidence of your claims then I’ll happily retract my statement. However if this is just further speculation, or just your personal experience then I maintain my point.

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damiengildea
Editor
3 days ago

.

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Last edited 11 hours ago by damiengildea
Noman Raees
Noman Raees
2 days ago

dont call it a DIPLOMATIC MESS you messy Journalist, the climbers didn’t aquire a climbing permit which is ILLEGAL. But our Forces are already trying to help the stranded.

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