Annapurna Drama Repeats on Makalu: No-O2 Indian Woman Stranded

Piyali Basak of India is stranded on Makalu, unable to move any further. She wanted to climb without supplementary oxygen and became too weak to continue after reaching the summit. Two Sherpas accompanied her, The Himalayan Times reported.

The case echoes that of Baljeet Kaur, who miraculously survived over a day near Annapurna’s summit. Kaur, going without oxygen, needed 27 hours to reach the summit. By the time she did, she was sick with High Altitude Cerebral Edema and unable to make clear decisions.

Her two accompanying Sherpas eventually left her around 7,900m and returned to Camp 4. It was thought that Kaur was dead. However, the Indian woman was alive and managed to send an SOS message through her InReach hours later, which prompted her rescue. Pioneer Adventure outfitted both Kaur on Annapurna and Basak on Makalu.

Piyali Basak on an approach trek some days ago. Photo: Piyali Basak/Instagram


Earlier this season, on April 17, Basak also summited Annapurna. While she appeared without a mask on the summit, there was no word about whether she climbed without oxygen on that occasion. As customary, if a climber doesn’t state otherwise, it’s assumed that she used canned oxygen.

Piyalo hold an Indian flag while standing on a summit, the Sherpa by her side weather an O2 mask, but she does not.

Basak, right, atop Annapurna with Dawanuru Sherpa on April 17.


The Himalayan Times reports that a Sherpa became sick after summiting and also needs rescue. It is not clear whether this stricken Sherpa was with Basak. The newspaper noted that the Sherpa (no name shared) was stranded at 7,600m while Basak stopped at 7,400m.

There were a number of summits on Makalu today, including a Pioneer Adventure team consisting of four Indian climbers and six Sherpa guides.

We should have further details as the day breaks tomorrow and helicopters can fly again.

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.