Sajid Sadpara Evacuated to Hospital in Kathmandu

Sajid Sadpara, part of Marc Batard’s expedition to find a new route to Camp 1 on Everest, was airlifted out of the Khumbu valley today. The helicopter took Sadpara to a hospital in Kathmandu. He is stable and receiving treatment.

These are the few facts available right now, but there is a whirlwind of speculation, contradictory detail, and worrying images that are doing the rounds online. In Pakistan, where he is considered a national hero, this has caused a great deal of anxiety.

Yesterday, speculation began on social media when a video, obviously recorded and shared without authorization, showed rescuers carrying Sadpara down the Everest trail (the pine tree forest suggests that perhaps someone filmed it between Namche Bazaar and Phakding).

Despite blogs, local media, and individual social media users suggesting a variety of potential health issues, the hospital had not released an official diagnosis.

Today, the Pakistani embassy in Nepal posted a video on Twitter showing an airlift said to be from Everest Base Camp. However, the footage shows a well-paved helipad and a stone building. Again, this suggests that it is further down the valley. They also shared a photo of Sadpara in the hospital.

Sadpara’s Everest plans

We are also expecting an official statement from Sadpara’s expedition leader, Marc Batard. Sadpara is an essential member of the international team. He had stepped in to take the place of his late father, Ali Sadpara. Ali Sadpara had agreed to accompany Batard next spring, when Batard intends to climb Everest on his 70th birthday. Batard hopes to use a new, safer route that avoids the Khumbu Icefall. Sadly, Ali Sadpara perished in February while attempting K2.

Sadpara was going to help Batard and his team scout the route, and if possible, to fix a new route to Everest Camp 1. Straight after, he was due to join Alex Txikon for a winter attempt on Manaslu. Sadpara last reported three days ago from Namche Bazaar and was feeling well, according to those who spoke with him.

Left to right: Sajid Sadpara, Marc Batard, and his son Alan Batard in Namche Bazaar some days ago. Photo: Marc Batard

An incredibly tough year

Sadpara has had a traumatic year. He was with his father on K2 in February. In fact, the young climber has lived through some of the most traumatic experiences one can imagine in mountaineering, all before turning 23.

On K2, his father saved his life when he told him to turn back on summit day. Ali Sadpara continued with his client, John Snorri. Neither made it back. Sajid Sadpara waited for them alone in Camp 3. The following day, worried about his condition, climbers back in Base Camp had to coax him down over the radio.

This summer, Sadpara returned to K2, determined to find the remains of his father. He not only found his father but summited K2 (for the second time) in tribute. On the way down, he managed to release the frozen body from the ropes, lower him down, and bury him in the snow as best he could. He did this alone until descending Bolivian climber Hugo Ayaviri stopped to help him. His life-altering year didn’t end there. In September, Sadpara took part in a rescue operation on Rakaposhi.