Still No News from Everest About Suhajda Szilard

There is no news from the three sherpas who are trying to reach stricken Hungarian climber Suhajda Szilard at the bottom of the Hillary Step, some 70 meters below the summit.

A helicopter dropped the sherpa rescuers off yesterday at Camp 2 (6,400m). They set off immediately. Weather permitting, they should have reached the spot where Suhajda Szilard was last seen on May 25, barely alive.

Meanwhile, climbers who were pushing for the summit the same day as Szilard have returned to Kathmandu and are providing testimony.

Going slowly, steadily up

Elia Saikaly of Canada was on Everest filming for Yousef Al Shatti of Kuwait, who — like Szilard — went without supplementary oxygen. UIAGM guide PK Sherpa was with them.

They did not quite reach the summit themselves but crossed paths with Szilard twice, on their way up at around 4:30 am Nepal time and as they descended at 1:30 pm.

On the way up, Saikaly said that Szilard was some 50 to 60 meters below the Balcony (8,400m). On the way down, they crossed paths again.

“[Szilard had] moved very slowly from below the Balcony to where we last saw him,” Saikaly said. Szilard was above the Balcony but had not advanced much further than when they first saw him.

“I tried to talk to him, but he didn’t respond,” said Saikaly. “He just kept going up. Very slowly but steadily upwards. A determined man, cut from a different cloth.”

Saikaly shared a picture of the approximate place where they crossed paths with Szilard during their descent.

A high plateau , with the trail to the right following the ridge, and clouds covering the valley below.

Elia Saikaly took this photo during their descent, shortly after crossing paths with Suhajda Szilard. Note: Szilard is not in the frame. Photo courtesy of Elia Saikaly


‘I was very worried’

“As we went further down, I kept looking back,” Saikaly explained. “I was very worried. We reached the Balcony at about 4 pm. Looking back again, I saw he was still not above the South Summit. He was a lone figure in the landscape.”

In addition to Szilard and Saikaly’s group, a team from Seven Summit Treks was also on the mountain. It included young Nima Rinji Sherpa, who summited Everest in the very early morning, along with two Chinese clients, and two sherpas from Asian Trekking. The SST group topped out at 4:30 am and went all the way down to Camp 2 that morning. A later group from Madison Mountaineering, pictured in the lead image, also went up that day.

Elia Saikaly has witnessed some of the most remarkable mountain dramas of the last few years. He was on the summit of Everest in 2019, as several climbers collapsed and died near the summit, caught in traffic jams and running out of oxygen. He was also on K2 in the summer of 2021 with Sajid Sadpara, when he found the remains of his father Ali Sadpara. Ali and his two companions had perished trying to reach the summit of K2 the previous winter.

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.