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TOPtoTOP (Dario) was coordinating the rescue of a Swiss who died on a previous expedition to Everest. The honor goes to 8 Sherpa under the lead of Jyamchang Bhote from the Agency “Active Holidays”. In mid conditions on the 4th of May at 2 a.m., they started climbing from camp 2 on 6400 m up to the South Col on 8000 m, where the Swiss was laying in a stone grave. They get there already at 1 p.m. carrying all rescue gear including a slide; – Normal climbers need 2 days to get so high…
They had 1 1/2 hours of hard work in thin air to open the grave with their ice axes and extract the body. Around 3 p.m. they wrapped him in a slide.
It was very difficult to the yellow band, especially in traverses. They have to build ankers in the Lhotse Face and abseiled the body in total 50 times! At 1 a.m. they arrived at the bergschrund of the Lhotse Face and left them there and went back to camp 2 for a short nap, before they returned and slide him down to camp 2 the next morning.
They have been very tired and hungry after more than 24 hours hard work and no warm food. Then the weather turned bad and the wind picked up so that there was no chance to fly the body out from camp 2. The alternative was to climb with 80 kg body trough the very dangerous Khumbu Icefall with deep crevasses and ceracs and ice towers collapsing anytime.
Khumbu icefall in the back and Everest Base Camp in front
To expose loyal Sherpas to such a risk, when you have the alternative of flying the body out by helicopter under the lead of the world famous mountain rescue experts in the name of the Swiss Bruno Jelk and Gerold Biner (Air Zermatt) is stupid!
They are both in Nepal as volunteers to build up a Nepali rescue system and found in the Nepali helicopter company FISHTAIL AIR and in the two excellent pilots Sabin Basnyat and Siddhartha the right partners.
So, Dario’s job in the following days was to prepare and coordinate everything for a successful rescue. The most difficult was to find the right weather window. On the 16th of May it looked good and not too much wind.
Dario told Jyamchang to send 4 Sherpa from Everest Base Camp again trough the notorious icefall to camp 2 to prepare the body for the transport by helicopter. They started at 1 a.m. on the 17th of May, – retrospective THE best day this year for summiting Everest.
Dario – Gerold – Sabin – Nima – Bruno
A rescue in high altitude by helicopter is very difficult and needs the best pilots. At 5.45 h Dario was picked up by helicopter in Khumjung piloted by Gerold Biner from Air Zermatt joined by Chief Pilot Sabin Basnyat from Fishtail Air.
In Periche we made a stop to take the doors out and prepare the long-line-system for rescue-guru Bruno Jelk.
Further up the valley, above Gorak-Shep, we made a deposit with ceresin. Here the long-line-rescue started with Gerold as the pilot and Bruno hanging on the line. All weight was reduced to a minimum and all involved had O2 ready to use as a safety procedure.
O2 check by very expirienced Bruno Jelk from Zermatt
At first they got the Russian body out, who was climbing with Alexander and Dario trough the icefall and died soon after below Lhotse. After the Russian, Bruno Jelk and Gerold Biner got also successfully the Swiss body down.
Finally the rescue was a big success. This, thanks the effort of the 8 Sherpa from Active Holidays under the lead of Jyamchang Bhote and Dorjee Sherpa, the knowledge and skill of Bruno and Gerold, the perfect collaboration of the two great helicopter companies Fishtail Air and Air Zermatt and the coordination of Dario from TOPtoTOP.
Landing of Swiss body above Gorak Shep, where he is prepared for the flight further to Kathmandu.
In Kathmandu the bodies were in “good hands” with Lhakpa Gyalzen Sherpa. He carried out the further procedures and fulfilled all wishes of the relatives of the two deaths. Many thanks also to him.
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