Mount Everest High Altitude Rescue Debrief

Account from Pakistan

(By Karrar Haidri) Last Friday a Mount Everest high altitude rescue this season was reported on by Montagna with a video of the effort.

Below debrief from the survivor: MD, climber and paraglider serving in Special Services Lt Col Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti.

Brief – Lt Col Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti, T Bt (Retd)

The Fourth Pakistan Mt Everest Summiteer

1. Lt Col Dr Abdul Jabbar Bhatti, T Bt (Retd), recipient of President’s Medal of Pride of Performance and an outstanding Pakistani mountaineer climbed Mt Everest (8,848 m) at midday on 21 May 2017 from South side situated in Nepal, thus becoming Fourth Pakistani to achieve this unique honour and laurel for Pakistan.

Jabbar had departed Islamabad on 6th April 2017 for Kathmandu, Nepal and reached Mt Everest Base on 17th April. After completing his acclimatization rotations up to Camp-3, he started from Everest Base Camp (5,334 m) on 17th May for his final summit bid.

After brief stopover at Camp-1 (5,943 m) he reached Camp-2 (6,400 m) the same day. On18th May he climbed to Camp-3 (7,162 m) whereas on 19th May he reached South Col Camp-4 (8,000 m).

However, he could not attempt summit on 19th May due to bad weather which forced the other climbing parties to return back to South Col.

On improvement in weather Lt Col Dr Jabbar started his summit attempt in at 7 pm on Saturday 20th May. Due to breaking of famous Hillary step portion of the ridge near the Everest summit, exhaustion of his oxygen, illness of his accompanying Sherpa and body fatigue due to overstay above 8,000 m, he struggled to climb and finally reached Everest summit at 11:30 pm on Sunday 21 May 2017 thus becoming fourth Pakistani to reach the highest point on Earth. He is 59 years of age.u2028

Stranded at 8,600 m without oxygen

2. However, during the descent Lt Col Jabbar Bhatti faced acute difficulties due to exhaustion of his supplementary oxygen and fatigue. He and his Sherpa suffered frost bite on their hands and feet.

Unable to descend back to Camp-4 by evening they were stranded at a height of 8,600 m below South Summit without oxygen and extreme exhaustion.

He was able to survive the night till Rescue team of 9 Sherpas arrived with extra oxygen in the wee hours and helped him to descend to Camp-4 by midday on 22nd May.

After having spent four nights above the Death Zone ie, 8,000 metres without much Oxygen he suffered acute dehydration, weakness, exhaustion and frostbite to his hand and feet, but he survived.u2028

Climber and paraglider serving in Special Services and Intelligence

3. Lt Col Abdul Jabbar Bhatti, a veteran and spirited adventurist, para glider and climber has a long history of engagement in adventure activities. Belonging to plains of Punjab ie, Gujranwala, he participated in various mountaineering expeditions launched by Pakistan Army and Alpine Club of Pakistan sinceu2028 1983.

He climbed Broad Peak (8,047 m) in 1985 and Gasherbrum II (8,035 m) 1986. While serving in Special Services Group and Inter Services Intelligence Directorate he brought laurels to Pakistan with his services on high altitude.

He also organised and led Pakistan Army Expeditions to Masherbrum II (1996), Chogolisa and other peaks between 2000 and 2010. He led Joint Pak-China Expedition and successfully climbed Spantik Peak (7,027 m) launched by Alpine Club of Pakistan in 2012. He organised two expeditions to search the three missing Pakistani climbers on 7,000 m high Sarwali Peak in Azad Kashmir in 2015 and 16.

Prior close calls

4. It may be mentioned that he financed his Mt Everest Expedition amounting to more than Rs 6.0 Million from within his own resources without any Government financial assistance which bespeaks of his utmost love for adventure activities and mountaineering.u2028

5. Being a doctor he has researched in high altitude affects and medicines and has represented Alpine Club of Pakistan and Pakistan Army at various international high altitude medical forums within Pakistan and abroad.u2028

6. He is accustomed to facing extreme challenges and has strong will to surmount and survive these challenges and traumas. Several years back he, while boating in Tarbela Lake, was sunk with his family, but was able to save his wife and two kids, losing his remainder family members. Later during paragliding his parachute failed to deploy properly resulting his steep fall and fracture of many of his ribs.u2028

7. A great survivor, he has been able to survive the merciless high altitude environments in the Death Zone above 8,000 metres for over four days, much without oxygen which shows his dogged determination, courage and bravery. u2028


Interview with Karrar Haidri