Update: “The Killer Mountain”
– this name sounded in our ears all the way from Islamabad to the BC.
Yesterday, June 18, we planned a day of a rest. In our bodies, we still felt
the 16+ hours of the previous day’s climb from the BC to C2 – in a raging
thunder storm all the way up through the Kinsshofer Wall [My report of
yesterday] -- and back to the BC in a single day. A day off would have been
well deserved. Well, life meant otherwise...
By now, there are about 20
climbers in the BC. No other expedition has been above C1 as yet. Quite
surprisingly, it looks like there is just one high-altitude porter among all
the climbers, quite a difference, as compared to the Everest! Among them, our
friend Ivan Vallejo, who summited Shishapangma a day after us last fall.
It is the afternoon, I am
relaxing in my tent, doing my English lessons, when I notice an unusual fuss.
Petr and I get out of our tents and go to check out what is happening. A piece
of ice fell on a tent at C1. A girl has been injured, it looks like a crushed
pelvis, she will need to be carried down on a stretcher. In a hurry, we throw
our most necessary climbing stuff to a backpack, several groups are already on
their way to up to the C1, others are already fixing a stretcher out of tent
poles. When it is ready, Ivan tries to take it under his arm... if he only
knew, how the path over the glacier looks like and that it takes good three
hours to get to the C1. I have the stretcher fixed on my backpack. We leave
the BC as the last ones, but after three ascents to the C2 the acclimatization
shows. I reach C1 just at the dusk. Their tent is about 5m apart from ours and
more exposed than ours. I look at the girl, she is beautiful. She has already
got a shot and so there is a smile on her face. Perhaps because she sees the
stretcher. She is in a sleeping bag, wrapped in foam pads, well fixed and
bound by ropes. The stretcher will be needed only past the glacier, lowering
on ropes comes first. Sixteen climbers collaborate in the efforts, Spaniards,
Japanese, French, Ecuadorian, Swiss, Czechs. Before the BC, Pakistani join. In
the melting snow, sinking waistline-deep, the progress is excruciating. We
rotate often, every ones a while some one falls apart completely exhausted.
The weather forecast fulfills, and we are caught by a snow storm, in lower
parts changing into a rain. Getting over the crevasse part is a real topper!
Everybody is so overwhelmed and exhausted that no one seems to even think
about the risks. The dark is merciful. The girl groans, but she is brave.
After another shot, the smile returns on her face. At the end of the glacier,
the stretcher comes to use. The path goes through a horrible terrain, carriers
rotate regularly, if one sinks deep into the snow, another climber rushes to
take over. Not a single time she fell out of the stretcher!!! It is 10PM
when I am telling her: this is the last 100 meters. In a few minutes we
cautiously lay her down in the Spanish tent. When I am leaving, she catches my
hand and whispers thanks. I clasp her hand, stroke her face and after a month
I am giving a kiss to a women. For a courage. Hers ... or mine?
Radek Jaros, Nanga Parbat BC,
June 18, 2005
Note: The family is aware of the accident, the news
was held until after they were notified...
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