Rakaposhi Update: Climbers Descending!

Despite frostbite, acute mountain sickness, and exhaustion, the three climbers stranded at 6,900m on Rakaposhi have left their tent and are heading down.

“The three of them started down an hour ago,” Karim Shah Nizari confirmed. “They are now at 6,500m and they will try to reach 5,800m.”

According to Nizari, the climbers were not mentally prepared to attempt the descent on their own without ropes. However, the equipment dropped by helicopter early this morning, together with fresh supplies, has given them some extra strength.

“We have been strongly encouraging them to go down all the time,” Nizari added.

While steep, the slopes below Camp 3 are not technically difficult. From 6,500m, Czechs Jakub Vlcek and Peter Macek, plus Pakistani climber Wajidullah Nagri, must follow the ridge down to an outcrop known as “Monk’s head” at around 6,300m. The goal is to reach a small, flatter area at 5,800m on the ridge. The lower altitude might permit a helicopter to land or to perform a long-line pick-up.

However, before they can begin to think of rescue, the sick climbers will have to deal with the journey. The trickiest section will be between 6,200m and 5,800m. Here, they’ll have to navigate 400 vertical meters of snow and ice, on 60-degree slopes. It is unknown whether they fixed ropes in that area on their way up.

Meanwhile, the ground rescue team of Abdul Joshi, Karim Hayat, and Eid Karim are prepared to start climbing Rakaposhi’s southwest ridge. Sajid Sadpara and Ali Reza Sadpara have boarded another helicopter and will head to Rakaposhi to help.