Annapurna Update: Ueli in Camp 4 with Iñaki!

It’s been tough waiting for updates on what is happening on Annapurna as Iñaki sits in Camp 4 waiting for help to arrive. Finally we have an update today, courtesy of Everest News who is reporting that Ueli Steck, and presumably Simon Anthamatten, have reached Camp 4 and are with Iñaki now.

The new broke a few days back that Iñaki turned back just 100 meters below the summit due to frostbite on his hands and because he, and his climbing partner Horia Colibasanu were running low on rope. Upon returning to C4 however, Iñaki suffered what is being described as an attack of some kind, and began vomiting, as he hovered on the edge of consciousness. Yesterday we learned that he was awake, but unable to walk and that rescue teams were en route.

Swiss climber Ueli Steck is amongst the strongest in the world, and just the kind of person you want helping with a high altitude rescue. The Everest News report says that he is administering medicine to Iñaki and that Horia has begun the descent to C3. He undoubtedly needs rest as well, and may be suffering some effects of altitude too.

No word yet on when they may attempt to bring Iñaki down, but I’ll continue to ask you to keep your fingers crossed for all of them. Annapurna isn’t the tallest of the 8000m peaks (it’s the 10th highest actually), but it’s a very treacherous mountain that is prone to avalanches. Certainly not the best place to attempt a high altitude rescue.

Update: is now reporting that two other rescue teams are in the area. Besudes Ueli being at C4 with Iñaki, Russian Serguey Bogomolov is leading a team that includes Don Bowie and Denis Urubko, who are now in C1 after be dropped on the mountain by a helicopter.

These three men are racing to help despite their own issues. Serguey is battling his own severe frostbite, Denis hasn’t slept since Iñaki got into trouble, and Don left the team of Iñaki and Horia over personality conflicts and differences. And yet they are all banding together despite all of this to lend what aid they can.

A third rescue team is gathering in Pokhara that includes a number of other strong climbers and some medial staff determined to help the Spanish climber who is reportedly eating and drinking, but unable to walk or talk at this point.

It’s good to see such strong climbers gathering to help. If the weather holds and Annapurna is kind, they should be able to help Iñaki down. Fingers still crossed and prayers with them all.

Kraig Becker

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