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

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

Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer from the UK. His words have featured in global outlets such as The Guardian, Outside Magazine and Red Bull. He works as a public health scientist by day and writes about the outdoors in his spare time. Ash's areas of expertise are polar expeditions, mountaineering, and adventure travel. For vacation Ash enjoys going on independent Arctic sledding expeditions. Read more at www.ashrouten.com

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2 years 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.

Not an Everest Climber
Not an Everest Climber
2 years 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.

2 years ago

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