Makalu: Piyali Basak Rescue Underway

Over 24 hours after she was reported missing, Indian climber Piyali Basak is still high on Makalu.

Pioneer Adventure told ExplorersWeb that they have sent four Sherpas with cans of oxygen up the mountain. At around 4:15 pm Nepal time, Pioneer Adventure announced that they had found her. Three Sherpas were helping her descend to Camp 3.

Basak climbed Makalu without supplementary oxygen alongside four international climbers and six Sherpa guides but apparently ran out of energy after reaching the summit.

“Piyali was very slow and couldn’t move when she arrived at around 7,400m, after reaching the summit,” The Himalayan Times reported. They noted that two Sherpas were supporting Piyali.

Asked if her team left Piyali alone, Pioneer Adventure managing director Nivesh Karki told ExplorersWeb the following: “When the Sherpas were about to finish their oxygen at 1 am, they went to Camp 3 and they contacted me [in Kathmandu]. If Sherpas run out of oxygen, it will create another problem, but that doesn’t mean they left her to die. This morning, I called to send a rescue team and arranged [extra] supplementary oxygen from another company.”

Basak is not inexperienced. She has climbed five 8,000’ers previously, including Dhaulagiri without oxygen. This spring, before Makalu, she summited Annapurna (with supplemental O2).

Climbers traversing a snow ridge on Makalu.

Climbers on Makalu’s upper ridge. Photo: Kristin Harila

Stranded Sherpa back in Camp 3

The good news is that a Sherpa climber reported missing has finally made it to Camp 3 after other climbers helped him down. The Sherpa was identified as Ngangwa Sherpa from Makalu.

Details are still sketchy, but he was not part of the Pioneer Adventure team that reached the summit with Basak.

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.