Everest: Rescuers Hurry Toward Suhajda Szilard

A strong rescue team is climbing toward Suhajda Szilard, who has been missing near the summit of Everest since Wednesday. Realistically, the chances of finding him alive are almost zero, but miracles have happened before. Witness Beck Weathers on Everest in 1996, Joe Simpson on Siula Grande in 1985, or Anurag Maloo on Annapurna earlier this spring.

Simone Moro at the joystick of his helicopter.

Simone Moro pilots his helicopter. Photo: Simone Moro


The rescue team is one of the best in Nepal. Pilot Simone Moro flew Winter K2 summiter Gelje Sherpa, Mikel Sherpa — fresh from helping rescue Carlos Soria on Dhaulagiri — and a third, unidentified sherpa climber to Camp 2 at 6,400m. Already acclimatized and supported by oxygen, the three sherpas are heading up on foot and should reach the Hillary Step soon.

IG story showing both sherpas posing for a selfie with faces together.

Mikel Sherpa (left) and Gelje Sherpa, ready to fly to Everest. They will try to rescue Suhajda Szilard from Everest’s Hillary Step.


This is the second 8,000m+ rescue that Gelje has recently done on Everest. Last week, he was guiding a group to the summit when he found a sick climber, abandoned in the snow.

“I made the decision to cancel our clients’ summit push so that I could bring him down to safety before he died up there alone,” he wrote on social media. “I carried him myself all the way down to Camp 4.” A rescue team took over from there.

Here’s a video showing what Gelje is capable to do and why he’s considered one of the strongest sherpas nowadays:

Meanwhile, Moro went to scout the mountain’s upper sections and try to spot Szilard. They want to make sure he is in the same place as yesterday.

Szilard found in a “miserable” state

Suhajda Szilard’s home team reported yesterday that a climbing team had come across the stricken Hungarian at the Hillary Step. Imagine Nepal leader Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, a.k.a. Mingma G, told ExplorersWeb today that it was indeed part of his team that found him. When we spoke to Mingma G yesterday, he said that his climbers had seen nothing, but he was coordinating from Base Camp and was not fully aware at the time of the situation high on the mountain.

The team had split into two groups. Two clients and four sherpas summited between 7:30 am and 8:30 am. But a second group of sherpas, guiding a 60-year-old Chinese woman, were proceeding much slower.

The Chinese client stopped at the Hillary Step, reportedly unable to continue. Nearby, they saw Szilard, showing some signs of life.

Suhajda climbs on a steep snow ramp with a large view down to the Valley of Silence behind him; he walks clipped to a fixed rope.

Suhajda’s Szilard in his high-altitude gear and clothing. Photo: Suhajda Szilard/Facebook


“He was far from the route and in a miserable state,” Mingma G’s sherpas on the mountain later explained to him.

“Three of my sherpas are still struggling to bring down the client with snowblindness,” he explained.

Presently, the Chinese woman and her sherpas are in Lhotse’s Camp 4, slightly below Everest’s Camp 4.

Yesterday’s Imagine Nepal team was the last one heading up Everest. Dawa Gyalje Sherpa, on his third Everest summit this season, led the group. He was also the leader who fixed the ropes to the summit on May 13. A Madison Mountaineering team, also in Camp 4, later headed up Lhotse.

Not the year to try Everest without O2

This year, Mingma G’s team was in charge of fixing the ropes on Everest between Camp 2 and the summit. Imagine Nepal lost three members in a tragic accident in the Khumbu Icefall in April during this rope-fixing process.

“This was not the year to try Everest without oxygen,” said Mingma G. “It was extremely cold. You can’t even imagine how many clients and sherpas have suffered from frostbite this season, and there were too many rescues.”

Mingma G sits in a mess tent with a transparent wall behing, showing views of the mountain.

Mingma G, leader of Imagine Nepal Everest expedition, in Base Camp. Photo: Imagine Nepal


The UIAGM-accredited mountain guide added: “I have never experienced such cold weather on Everest before. Winds were always higher than the weather forecasts predicted.”

As for Suhajda, Mingma noted that he was climbing alone and with no means to communicate with Base Camp.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.