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