Scare to finish
Text: Igone Mariezkurrena (Nanga Parbat, BC)
It seems that finally the outcome, although not happy, is not going to be fatal; but things have gotten dark on the Diamir side of Nanga Parbat: This morning, Alex Txikon, Daniele Nardi and Ali ‘Sadpara’ have dropped precipitously C4 (7,200m) because of the obvious and severe symptoms of altitude sickness that was showing the Pakistani climber. At this time they all rest in BC. Although Ali still has a severe headache, dizziness and some incoherent speech, the situation is fortunately under control.
7:30 a.m., Alex Txikon by walkie from C4 (7.200m): “We will wait until clouds open and sun shines, in half an hour we’ll leave.”
Again at 8:00a.m.: “What’s the weather like for descending?” For us, in the other side of the walkie, this question sounded redundant and made sense that something was not right. They knew well enough, because we talked about that several times throughout the day before, the day came good.
Indeed, at 08:30a.m., again Txikon: “We are in trouble, we need to take Ali down from here as soon as possible. He cannot vocalize properly, says nonsense and is unable to coordinate his body; It is very bad sign”.
Loaded with food, medicine and one tent, Muhammad Khan left CB immediately toward C2 (6.700m), where Txikon and Nardi intended to reach with Ali.
At 7200 meters high, gathered what they could in their backpacks and rushed down. “It’s able to walk by himself, but very clumsy and slow.” The last stretch between C3 (6.700m) and C4 (7,200m) has been particularly delicate: “We didn’t equipped this pitches when going up and now have become very dangerous, Ali comes slip after slip”. Of course, everyone breathed calmer when they reached the fixed ropes, but still have to live down the shovel ice over the Wall and the Kinshoffer Wall itself, terrains that required maximum concentration.
At about 2:00 pm, Txikon contacted CB again to confirm that the three of them had reached C2 (6.700m) and, although still affected, saw Ali much better. “Has talked to Muhammad Khan by radio and has started to cry, what makes us think he is aware of his situation; that’s good “.
After resting for a while in C2, have been able to make one more effort to C1, so have gone into the corridor where have met Muhammad Khan. The four together have reach C1 at 17:00 or so. From there, and less nervous, Alex Txikon has given us some more detail of what happened: “We saw him very tired yesterday, but we have really realized what was happening when in the morning, before leaving, we saw he was putting on his glove as a sock and vice versa. We started to make him questions about his age and children, and the response has been totally incongruous. I also heard him make strange noises at night, but I didn´t think it was any of this”.
Now Txikon and Nardi, (and everyone in BC), wonder why Ali ‘Sadpara’ didn´t alert before he was not feeling good, because they now do understand and interpret that the “strange” behavior of the Pakistani climber yesterday, within hours of the summit, was the first sign of what was to come. “We trust him for the attack because he has trodden summit twice. But he walked disoriented, as if frightened, until suddenly told us that we were on the wrong way and had no choice but to return to C4″. This is something, of course, must speak up when things get back to normal, because at the moment none of them understand very well what happened, even why they turned being so close. Probably the extreme tiredness didn´t let them think clearly..
On the other hand, when speaking of the criticism about having reached 8,000 or not, Txikon Alex replied, though obviously not eager to talk about it now, that was an estimate without contrast made by radio at that time but that, indeed, is more than likely they were below. “When we see the pictures we can make a reasonable estimate, but now is not the time for that,” From here, the author of the images wants to clarify that the photo difunded does not reflect the highest point reached yesterday.
For now, the most important thing is that Ali’s health improves, as already is doing and will soon recover completely. “Because good weather allowed us to come down and because he is a strong guy…”.