A miracle in itself, a team rescuing alive an Indian climber who was trapped under a glacier for three days may be anecdotal. Speaking of Annapurna (8,091 m), the scene of this unexpected resurgence that carried Anurag Maloo from his tomb of ice to his hospital bed, the true miracle is that at this point in the spring, deaths are not counted on both hands . Paradoxical as it may seem, the first eight-thousander climbed by humans is also the deadliest, with the highest fatality-to-peak ratio observed: as of 2018, 266 summits and 72 deaths had been recorded, 37 due to avalanches. Its general route, to the north, is a kind of Russian roulette in which you have to dodge not only rift areas, but also fight against the frequent avalanches that appear at the bottom of the mountain. Two weeks ago, a massive avalanche buried everything in its path between Camps 3 and 2. It was lucky (or a miracle) that no one was on the mountain at the time.
Annapurna changed forever on April 16, 2021, when a contingent of 67 climbers climbed to its summit under wheels of a media display prepared by Nepalese guide agencies: the same number of summits that day as in the previous 40 years . On the mountain that day, the famous French guide and climber Marc Batard retreated, horrified by what he saw: poorly installed ropes that could give way under the weight of many climbers, guides without serious knowledge of mountaineering, With clients plugged into oxygen bottles and no control over what they did, climbers enrolled in commercial expeditions without the tiniest sign of autonomy in between … and declared a “catastrophe of colossal proportions” as of late. Will come soon instead.
It might as well have been the day before, when a group made up of the Sherpas Lakpa Nurbu, Tashi, Chepal, Dawa Nurbu, Lakpa and Poles Adam Belecki and Marius Hatala looked into the crevice where the Indian climbers had fallen with this thought. Trying to “recover a corpse,” as Belecki explained in his network. Fortunately, there was no avalanche as they worked to hoist Anurag Maloo to a point where they stayed for several hours, passing the point when the timing was right and underway.
We recommend Adam Bielecki @AdamTheClimber For his unwavering courage and professionalism in the face of danger. Thank you for your incredible bravery and expertise in rescuing Anurag Maloo from the crack of Annapurna I (8091 m). Your help in saving Anurag Malu from the fire… pic.twitter.com/bHrJj0Gq52
– Everest Today (@EverestToday) April 20, 2023
The Indian had collapsed under the watchful eyes of another climber, Brazilian Moses Fiamoncini, whose account of events on the explorerweb gives you goosebumps and raises many questions: “Malu was very weak, probably affected by altitude sickness, So he decided to go behind or to his side, always a few meters away. His Sherpa also went down with him, so he was never alone, ”emphasizes the Brazilian. “Arriving at an 8m vertical ice step equipped with fixed ropes, Malu asked me to go down first, so I made sure to choose the right rope and went down. Under the ledge I looked up and saw Malu rappelling but realized he had chosen an old rope barely two meters long and had not gone all the way. On the ground: I yelled at him to warn him but he didn’t hear me and fell down, it crashed three feet from where I was and slid down a crack where you couldn’t see it. I was horrified. Fiamoncini believes. Malu’s Sherpa had a rope and was tied to the edge of the crack: “We gave him a long time, taking a serious risk and watching how avalanches chase each other. Finding him alive was a small option, so we kept going down until we reached base camp”, says Fiamoncini.
Malu had contracted the services of Seven Summit Treks, one of the most powerful agencies in Nepal, whose high prices are intended to guarantee the safety of customers and as a way to stand out from the low-cost agencies operating in the country. For these reasons, it is baffling that the Sherpa accompanying Malu did not take into account the tremendous mistake his client had made by placing his descender on the wrong rope, to learn more about his physical and cognitive condition. Nor has the agency said what length of rope the Sherpa was carrying and what prevented him from descending the crack: Poles found the Indian climber less than 50 meters from its edge, not 300 or 100 as one explained in theory. It is also not known exactly what work the team of Sherpas sent after the fact by Seven Summit Treks did to try to find the missing person. Finally, the urging of Malu’s family, his requests to the governments of India and Nepal, and guarantees that the cost of the rescue would be covered by an insurance company, allowed him to put together a solvent team and Sobit Gauchan, an extraordinary pilot. , to perform miracles. Pole Adam Bielecki signed off on his first winter summit of Broad Peak (8,047 m) in 2013, in the company of three compatriots. But two of his associates, Maciej Berbecka and Tomasz Kowalski, never returned. Part of the Polish mountaineering community criticized Bielecki for not waiting for his teammates during the descent, as he was the strongest in the team. Since then, Bielecki has starred in two high-profile rescues: Malu and Elizabeth Revol in Nanga Parbat in the winter of 2018.
Guiding in an 8,000-meter mountain, as understood in the West, requires a highly qualified guide and a constant presence with the client. In the absence of reliable guides (very few have certified degrees), local agencies rely on the work of fixed ropes, bottled oxygen and air rescue services, which are apparently as compromised as the Annapurna in the mountains. SE seems to be a bet as controversial as it is insane. , With serious hazards such as crevasses, serac breaks (hanging ice masses) and avalanches, it doesn’t seem like the best idea to move clients without pedigree, slow and move up and down the mountain. The Indian Malu, in his first foray into eight-thousanders, seems to be another victim of the recent fascination with the tallest mountains on earth among India’s upper-middle class. As American climber Mark Sinnott explains in his book The Third Pole (Desnivel edition), the benefits of climbing one in 14 eight-thousanders to the top are tremendous in terms of social recognition, and the crowning glory of Everest. Has provided many Indians for life positions of relevance in the administration of the country. Malu is in critical condition in the ICU of a hospital in Nepal. Of course, summit attempts continue on Annapurna, where only two deaths have been recorded this spring.
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