Survivors Safe on Lhotse; Mingote Ponders Next Move

Amid all the bad news of deaths in the high Himalaya, there is some good news: The four climbers who summited Lhotse without supplementary oxygen, then dropped out of communication for several hours, are fine and resting in Camp 2.

Sergi Mingote and Carlos Garranzo of Spain, Ali Sadpara of Pakistan and Juan Pablo Mohr of Chile (climbing independently but joining up for the last part of the climb) reached the 8,516m summit around 1pm local time on May 15, in worsening weather. Although they left Camp 4 at 3am, the last sections, which had no fixed ropes, took longer than expected. Nevertheless, they managed to top out and then descend to Camp 4, where they found shelter from the rising wind.

This morning, as they continued down between Camp 4 and Camp 3, they found two other climbers in need of help: Bulgarian Ivan Tomov and a Russian woman whom Mingote simply calls Nasha. Mohr and Mingote improvised a stretcher to carry Tomov and gave the Russian woman a hand.

After reaching Camp 2, Mingote told his wife over the satphone, “We managed to save Nasha, but the Bulgarian climber died in my arms. It’s been a very hard, sad day.” Mingote’s home team confirmed that Carlos Garranzo and Ali Sadpara also reached Camp 2 safely.

Mingote has not yet decided what to do tomorrow. His original plan was to head directly for Everest, without descending past Camp 2. It is currently unclear whether he might change his mind.

Ivan Tomov was part of a different group and perished of altitude sickness on his way down the mountain.

Ali Sadpara

Ali Sadpara.