Malaysian Everest climber saved in rare high-altitude rescue

Nepali guide Gelje Sherpa is said to have convinced his Chinese client to give up his summit attempt in order to save a Malaysian climber who was clinging to a rope and shivering from extreme cold. – EPA pic, June 1, 2023.

A MALAYSIAN climber has Nepali sherpa guides to thank for after his life was saved from a near death in Mount Everest.

A Reuters report stated that the climber, whose identity was not revealed, narrowly survived after the sherpa guide hauled him down from below the summit of Mount Everest in a “very rare” high-altitude rescue.

Quoting a Nepali government official, the wire report said guide Gelje Sherpa, 30, was guiding a Chinese client to the 8,849m Everest summit on May 18 when he saw the Malaysian climber clinging to a rope.

The climber was shivering from extreme cold in the area called the “death zone”, where temperatures can dip to -30C or lower.

After convincing his Chinese client to give up his summit attempt, Gelje and another guide Nima Tahi Sherpa took almost six hours to haul the climber 600m down from the Balcony area to the South Col.

“We wrapped the climber in a sleeping mat, dragged him on the snow or carried him in turns on our backs to Camp III,” Gelje was quoted as saying.

He was then lifted by a helicopter using a long line to the base camp.

“It is almost impossible to rescue climbers at that altitude,” Department of Tourism official Bigyan Koirala was quoted as telling Reuters. “It is a very rare operation.”

Gelje, meanwhile, said he convinced his Chinese client to give up his attempt to reach the peak in order to save the Malaysian climber.

“Saving one life is more important than praying at the monastery,” said Gelje, a devout Buddhist.

Tashi Lakhpa Sherpa of the Seven Summit Treks company, which provided logistics to the Malaysian climber, declined to name him, citing his client’s privacy. The climber was put on a flight to Malaysia last week.

Nepal issued a record 478 permits for Everest during this year’s March-May climbing season.

At least 12 climbers have died – the highest number for eight years, and another five are still missing on Everest’s slopes.

This season has seen the death of a Malaysian climber Kedah Civil Defence Force director Lt Col Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub, 56, after falling while climbing the mountain.

Another climber, Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who is a person with a disability, is still missing after losing contact on May 18 while descending from Camp 4 after conquering the world’s highest peak.

The search for him is ongoing.

Hawari was among the first group to the summit of Everest together with Awang Askandar.

The Nepali guides’ rescue of the unnamed Malaysian climber also took place on May 18.

In another development, the Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said that it was treating Malaysian climber R.J. Nagarajan who had reached the Everest peak on May 22.

The hospital said he had arrived safely to Malaysia on a Malaysia Airlines flight yesterday morning and was undergoing treatment at the hospital for injuries.

It added that Nagarajan was in a stable condition. – June 1, 2023.

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