Suhajda Szilard at Foot of Everest’s Hillary Step, Barely Alive. He is Still Out There

Suhajda Szilard‘s home team has posted an update with some dire news.

This morning, May 25, the home team learned that Szilard was at approximately 8,780 meters, at the bottom of the Hillary Step. A team found him and said that he could be clearly identified from his clothing. When they passed him, he showed signs of life, but there were [also] signs of frostbite and high-altitude cerebral edema.

This evening, Szilard’s home team agreed with the Nepalese agency providing Szilard’s base camp logistics [Seven Summit Treks] that on the morning of May 26, they would attempt to fly up by helicopter to a height from which they could see Szilard. At the same time, three sherpas will be sent for Szilard, who will ideally be able to reach him late on May 26.

“Being realistic, there is a very small chance that Szilard will be found alive at that altitude. However, I fully trust Szilard and and believe in miracles.” – Timea Legindi, Szilard’s wife.


The report prompts many questions. First, it suggests that an unidentified team found Szilard seriously sick at nearly summit altitude, but for some reason, couldn’t or didn’t help him down. Imagine Nepal’s leader, Mingma G, told ExplorersWeb earlier that they had not seen anything when they reached the summit today. It is unclear if anyone else summited. We have gone back to Mingma G for comments.

The severely sick climber, if still alive, will have to spend a second night and day in the open, without oxygen. Helicopters cannot fly high enough even to scout the area from nearby.

Latest news from the climber

Szilard set off from Camp 4 on Tuesday night, May 23, for the summit. He climbed on his own and without oxygen. During the entire expedition, he had been as self-sufficient as possible on today’s Everest. He carried his own tent, gear, and supplies up the mountain. He had acclimatized thoroughly in order to prepare for the no-O2 summit push and was feeling strong and positive.

The last time he contacted his home team, shortly before 9 am Nepal time yesterday, he was on the Balcony, feeling well and willing to go on. He had a tracking device with him but it functioned intermittently, showing a long time between signals.

The home team’s new report reveals that Szilard contacted them again via satellite phone again at 1:30 pm local time from the South Summit at 8,630m. He said he was okay and felt that the summit was still doable, but he admitted it was hard and it was getting late.

The last point registered by Szilard’s tracker put him at 8,795m around the Hillary Step at 7:30 pm.

After dark last night, two sherpas were sent to Camp 4 to look in nearby tents and up toward the mountain. There has been no official statement about a rescue operation.

As of posting this story, Seven Summit Treks has not mentioned that Szilard was found. They only noted his last radio contact on Wednesday in a conversation with The Himalayan Times.

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.