Rakaposhi: Climbers Stranded in Bad Weather, and a Diplomatic Mess

Bad weather has stranded climbers Jakub Vlcek, Peter Macek, and Wajidullah Nagri in Camp 3 on Rakaposhi. Camped at 6,900m, the climbers have already been stuck for two days. To make matters worse, Czech climbers Vicek and Macek were apparently climbing without a permit. This has complicated the bureaucracy required for rescue operations in Pakistan.

Choppers on the way

According to Ashgar Ali Porik (CEO of Jasmine Tours Pakistan) and Karim Shah Nizari (a local climber), the rescue operation is going ahead despite the bureaucratic issues. As soon as the weather allows, two army helicopters will pick up professional climber Abdul Joshi and two more climbers from Hunza. They will then head to Rakaposhi.

In a recent update, Nizari reports that the helicopters are getting ready at Gilgit airbase. After refueling, they will move to Rakaposhi, even though the mountain is wrapped in low clouds. Since his post, the government has not confirmed whether the choppers have left, or who will foot the bill.

“The Czech Republic embassy must help,” Porik wrote on Twitter. “These illegal activities put the host country in a dislike[sic] situation. The government of Pakistan is ready to organize the rescue mission, but the Czech Embassy and insurance (Europe Assistance Prague) need to act very quickly.”

Porik confirmed that the climbers had no permit and had not hired any of the local outfitting companies to manage logistics.

The climbers’ approximate location on Google Maps. Photo: KrissAnnapurna


Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister of Tourism, Raja Nasir Ali Khan, has issued an official statement on social media: “The Czech Republic mountaineers went up prior to the issuance of a government NOC (No Objection Certificate), which is unethical. We do expect…such expeditions to comply with laws and regulations for their own safety and well-being in the face of emergencies.”

His statement suggests that the climbers did ask for a permit, but set off for the mountain before the government granted it.

In any case, it is unlikely that the helicopters can reach 6,900m. The stranded climbers will probably need to descend at least as far as Camp 2, or a ground team will need to go up and try to reach them. This presents yet another problem: It is unclear which route the climbers followed. There is no information on ropes, camps, or the stranded climbers’ condition.