Rakaposhi Rescue Aftermath

Climbing Karakorum
Rakaposhi, 7,788m. Photo: Abdul Joshi

Jakub Vlcek, Peter Macek, and Wajidullah Nagri are safely back in Gilgit, but the details about their climb and rescue on Rakaposhi are far from clear.

Exactly what happened on the mountain differs depending on who tells the story. Meanwhile, the climbers are now dealing with blowback from climbing without a permit and what that means for their insurance policy.

Competing versions

Jakub Vlcek gave some interviews to Czech media yesterday, and today he posted a statement on his Facebook page. In both, he and partner Peter Macek say that contrary to official reports, they felt fine on Rakaposhi and did not need rescue.

Instead, they say that their Pakistani partner, Wajidullah Nagri, stayed behind on the summit, taking photos and making phone calls. They waited for him for over an hour at 7,500m. By then, Vlacek states, Nagri was disoriented and had lost some of his clothing and gear. Nagri was the one who refused to move down on the following days.

This, according to Vlceck’s report, is what prompted them to ask for help. They didn’t even need the food that the helicopters dropped, although they used the extra rope to secure Nagri’s descent. Finally, contrary to a statement by Abdul Joshi, the Czech climbers say that the helicopter did not use a long-line — that it actually landed.

In the interview, the climbers cite the communication difficulties between them and the rescue teams. This statement seems plausible, considering the radically different versions of the rescue operation. This is also clear from some messages that ExplorersWeb has seen.

A difficult rescue

Abdul Joshi, leader of the on-ground rescue team, says that the rescue was particularly difficult for a number of reasons:

1) The Czech climbers did not have a permit to climb the mountain.
2) They had no base camp, no ground team, and no management team.
3) They did not fix ropes while climbing up the mountain.
4) Since they had no documentation anywhere, their insurance agency was not willing to cover the rescue.

Abdul Joshi, left with Karim Hayat. Photo: Abdul Joshi

Vlcek and Macek have agreed to an interview with ExplorersWeb. We will publish it in a separate story as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, Karim Shah Nizari confirms that everything he previously told ExplorersWeb — including the panic at 6,200m when one of the Czechs did not want to stay behind — came from listening to the pilots.

Who’s gonna pay for the party?

Although safe, the rescued climbers now face the consequences of climbing Rakaposhi without a permit. And who foots the bill for the rescue?

According to Dawn, an official letter states that “the two foreigners had applied for a permit to summit Rakaposhi on July 16, but the permission was not granted due to security concerns.”

Authorities got wind of the climb through social media. Gilgit-Baltistan’s Tourism Minister Raja Nasir said the Czech pair “had neither obtained any non-objection certificate (NOC) nor a tracking permit nor paid insurance-related costs as well as the Rs3 million to Rs4m fee for a helicopter rescue.”

“We are taking action against them…Until they pay helicopter expenses, we will keep them in Gilgit,” the minister told Dawn.

“It’s their rules and we must respect them.” — Marek Holocek

Meanwhile, the climbers’ travel insurance company might refuse to pay for the rescue expenses, according to Seznam Zpravy. A spokesperson for UNIQA insurance told the media that the company was not supposed to pay for rescue because the mountain was in a “dangerous” area not recommended for tourism by the Czech government. The lack of a proper permit also invalidates the climbers’ coverage.

Czech media also asked climbing star Marek Holecek about the issue. He agreed that the climbers should have waited for the permit. “It’s their [Pakistan’s] rules and we must respect them, whether we like them or not,” he said.

Helicopter pilots, rescued climbers, and local authorities. Photo: The Rakaposhi rescue team

Rescuer Abdul Joshi also asks that all foreign climbers stick to the rules and climb responsibly. “Otherwise, you are not only risking your own life,” he said. “[You] are a danger to the whole climbing community.”

The ongoing investigation should also affect the Pakistani climber, Wajidullah Nagri. Pakistan Alpine Club’s secretary Karrar Haidri told ExplorersWeb that while Pakistani citizens don’t have to pay a climbing fee to attempt Rakaposhi, they still must cover a waste management fee and the porter/guide insurance. They also need a permit to climb all mountains above 6,500m.

Pakistan and other countries have followed this rescue with great interest. The plight of the climbers drew volunteers, army resources, and political representatives. The situation has also highlighted some pressing issues, such as better control of climbing expeditions and as Abdul Joshi suggests, the need for a proper rescue system in Pakistan.

+8

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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Jacek
Jacek
1 month ago

One expensive climb!

+3
Marie
Marie
1 month ago

I think it was very unwise of the Czech pair to speak ill of Mr Nagri (and in part even of the rescue team) and might make the whole thing even more costly than it would have been otherwise.

+1
Apy
Apy
1 month ago
Reply to  Marie

Indeed not very smart to make all those comments while still in Pakistan. I think they have now realized this as in the latest post on Jakub’s FB, they say basically that they will now shut up until they’re home.

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FullPower24Hour
FullPower24Hour
1 month ago
Reply to  Apy

I guess we ll never know the truth

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Last edited 1 month ago by FullPower24Hour
khairullah
12 days ago

surely you will know the truth you can interview wajid any time on his facebook page

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khairullah
12 days ago
Reply to  Marie

true indeed they lied since begning of the expedition. wajid’s comments are totally different.

0
Jahan
Jahan
1 month ago

Glad all three climbers were rescued. They should have, at least, thanked the rescuers (Abdul Joshi, Sajid Sadpara and others) who volunteered to help free of cost and the Pakistan Army’s pilots who attempted such a daring rescue.

+4
Craig Quigley
Craig Quigley
1 month ago

They’ll have to take this one on the chin….Just the way the cookie crumbles sometimes!

0
Taxzu
Taxzu
1 month ago

Probably they have realized that they have to pay rescue fee on their own they are saying we didnt need rescuing and are putting everything on the Pakistani. During all this saga we were hearing that it was Nagri who was more active and walking around the tent. Helicopter Pilot and Joshi also tell different account of what happened.

0
Zaheer Chaudhry
1 month ago

Should we also wait for Wajid’s commentary? definitely YES.
We all mountain lovers are so sorry for such mistakes they have committed before the expedition. How come such experts can do so… “A difficult rescue”/ Thank you to the Air forces, district administration, people of Nagar/ spl Minapin, and the professionals like Joshi and Karim, their proper and on-time efforts saved 3 lives.

+1
montana
montana
1 month ago

Hoping that the interview by ExWeb with the Czech climbers and hopefully hearing more from the Pakistani participants will clear up the story. There are some contradictions between the Vlcek interview and his Facebook page reports. While in the interview he says they were not in any difficulty and that only Nagri needed the helicopter, the facebook page tells the story in the original reports. That is, in 12-13 September the Czech climbers clearly relied on a helicopter rescue. See e.g. the news from 13 september. The weather is improving. The helicopter crew located them on the first try and… Read more »

Michal
Michal
1 month ago
Reply to  montana

Yes. Plus Czech climbers hysterical SMSs begging for rescue, published by Nizari. Petr and Jakub’s story is inconsistent and most likely lie.

+2
Sheikh
Sheikh
11 days ago
Reply to  Michal

I don’t know, I’d rather take the word of the rescuers who risked their lives without gain than the ones who knowingly were committing a crime in the first place.

0
Markhor123
Markhor123
1 month ago

I was able to get in touch with the pilots. They landed and picked one person at one time. Total three landings were made. In first landing Pakistani was picked and in second 2 landings czech guys were picked. Pakistani picked had indications of frost bite on his right foot. He removed his shoes immediately on arrival in Gilgit. One of the Czech climbers had some stomach problem. Second one seemed allright.
One of the pilots is email: rizzi17@gmail.com and his insta is 17_riz

+1
Michal
Michal
1 month ago
Reply to  Markhor123

Any comment on incident where one of the climbers allegedly endangered heli?

0
Last edited 1 month ago by Michal
Martin Šanda
Martin Šanda
1 month ago

Try to fix the typos in the Czech surnames

0
khairullah
12 days ago

The article is based on lies need to be corrected imediately

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