Nanga Parbat: Gelje Sherpa to the Rescue

Gelje Sherpa is currently on a helicopter from Skardu to get Shehroze Kashif and Fazal Ali off Nanga Parbat by long line. It is unclear whether he will reach the mountain today since it lies a fair distance from Skardu. Although the straight-line distance isn’t far, helicopters have to refuel frequently because of the altitude.

Skardu, red arrow, and Nanga Parbat, lower left.


Other climbers in Pakistan are following the events with great concern. Kristin Harila, also in Skardu, told ExplorersWeb that the pair were spotted in Camp 3 earlier today.

“A team tried to go up from Base Camp this morning, but the weather was too bad,” she said. Harila and her 8K Expedition team are about to fly to K2 Base Camp but will defer their flight to help if needed.

Shehroze Kashif of Pakistan and Fazal Ali summited Nanga Parbat at 8:45 am yesterday. That evening, they lost contact with Base Camp somewhere around 7,350m. The weather then turned bad, with snow and zero visibility from 5,500m up, climbers in Base Camp told ExplorersWeb. Kashif and Ali reportedly spent the night in the open but were spotted descending toward Camp 3 today.

It is actually unclear whether they need rescue, but they spent the night in the open, are descending slowly, and there are technical sections between C3 and Base Camp. Also, Kashif was climbing with oxygen, although he may have found fresh supplies in Camp 3.

Gelje Sherpa on the summit of Nanga Parbat on July 2. Photo: Gelje Sherpa

The super guide

Gelje Sherpa is on track to climb all 14×8000’ers twice. He was a key guide on Nirmal Purja’s Project Possible quest and was also the youngest member of the Nepali team that summited Winter K2. Last winter, he attempted to open a route up Cho Oyu’s south (Nepal) side.

Currently, he is working independently, guiding Adriana Brownlee on her 14×8,000m speed quest. Back in BC after summiting Nanga Parbat with her on July 2, Gelje reiterated that the mountain is “no joke”.

“Nanga is much more challenging and dangerous compared to other lower 8,000m peaks,” he said. “Also, the elevation gain from Base Camp to the summit is higher than Everest and K2.”

Gelje has participated in many rescues, including other long-line extractions. This past spring, he helped rescue four people from Camp 4 on Annapurna. Check his video of the long-line rescue below:

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.