top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

French mountaineer rescued as climb mate feared dead

The French mountaineer, Elisabeth Revol, has been rescued by emergency rope climbers and a helicopter in the Himalayas after the alarm was raised this weekend.

Revol and her climbing partner, Tomek Mackiewicz, were attempting to climb the 8,125 metre-high Nanga Parbat summit, in Pakistan, which is the ninth highest mountain in the world.

Mackiewicz, who was said to be suffering from snow blindness and frostbite, has still not been found and is feared to have died on the mountain, as conditions are said to be treacherous, and no rescuers were able to scale or fly the rescue helicopter any higher up the peak, forcing them to make the heartbreaking decision to leave Mackiewicz behind.

The heroic rescuers - named as mountaineers Denis Urubko and Adam Bielecki, who interrupted their own summit of K2 (the world's second-highest mountain) to join the mission, managing to scale an incredible 1,000 metres in just eight hours in pitch darkness - are said to be working with a wider rescue team to “find a solution” to rescue Mackiewicz's body.

Those coordinating the rescue are attempting to send a helicopter as soon as possible, according to their Facebook page updates.

According to reports, Revol was rescued after the duo came into difficulties at an altitude of around 7,200 metres.

She is said to be suffering from serious frostbite.

Revol’s situation has been communicated - where possible - by her team via her Facebook page - including her friend Ludovic Giambiasi - and the alarm was raised on Saturday, after Revol sent a distress signal.

After Makiewicz came into difficulties at 7,280 metres, Revol is said to have brought him down as far as she could to help him set up a tent, before descending herself to around 6,000 metres to raise the alarm via satellite phone. Initial reports suggest that Mackiewicz was not able to accompany her, and remained stranded in his tent higher up.

The rescue effort has cost over €40,000 (US$50,000/£35,200), with the amount needed successfully amassed in just four hours via online crowdfunding website GoFundMe after the alert was raised. Any extra money raised will now go to Mackiewicz's family.

The Polish Embassy and the French Embassy in Pakistan are said to be among those to have helped support the rescue effort - while helicopters owned by the Pakistan military also flew around the mountain to search for the pair.

Revol is now said to have been flown to Pakistani capital Islamabad for further medical treatment, and is expected to be transferred to a French hospital that specialises in treating severe frostbite, shortly.

Nanga Parbat has a fearsome reputation, and is dubbed “the killer mountain” thanks to its history. Over 30 climbers lost their lives while climbing it before it was finally scaled for the first time in 1953.

It was only summited during wintertime for the first time ever in February 2016.

And yet, deaths continue to occur: in June 2017, a Spanish and Argentine climbing duo were killed on the mountain after being carried away by an avalanche.

Revol - originally from the Drôme area of France, and who works as a physical education teacher in Crest (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) when not climbing - is known as a mountaineer with special expertise in the Himalayas.

Born in 1980, she began climbing at age 19, and in 2008 became the first woman ever to have scaled the famous trio - Broad Peak - Gasherbrum I - Gasherbrum II - as a solo climber without extra oxygen, in a record time of 16 days.

This is not the first time she and Mackiewicz had attempted to summit Nanga Parbat; they had also tried in 2015, but were thwarted by bad weather.

Mackiewicz himself had already attempted to climb Nanga Parbat in winter six times previously.

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Income Tax in France 2023 (for 2022 income)*
Featured Help Guide
- Primarily aimed at Britons, covers pensions, rent, ISAs, shares, savings and interest - but also contains significant general information pertinent to readers of other nationalities - Overview of online declarations + step-by-step guide to the French printed forms - Includes updates given automatically after this year's site opened
Get news, views and information from France