Latok rescue attempt called off

Posted: Aug 16, 2009 07:29 pm EDT

( "It is with tremendous sadness that we share with you that the rescue attempt being made for Oscar Perez on Latok II has been called off," wrote Stu Remensnyder (US) and Dave Hancock (Australia) today.

"This decision was made in common agreement by the team at BC, the coordinators in Skardu and the club Pena Guara."

Rescuers unable to locate Oscar

Also today, ExWeb's Karrar Haidri met with Spanish Sebastian Alvaro in Skardu. Seb confirmed that the team, reportedly consisting of 6 Spaniards, 3 North Americans, and 16 local high altitude/low altitude porters has been unable to locate Oscar.

Seb told Karrar he had not met Oscar Perez before, and was in Hushe with his family when he heard of the climber being stranded on Latok. According to rescuers' reports, Sebastian has since been instrumental in coordinating the local efforts.

Too many factors finally converged against the chances

Stu and Dave described the details leading up to the final decision to abort the efforts:

"The length of time Oscar has been trapped high on the mountain (10 days), the difficulty of the route, bad weather making conditions on the route worse, and danger to the rescuers all converge to made it clear that the only choice was to end the operation."

"The team at Latok II BC must now walk out as the weather has turned too poor for helicopters to fly. Their walk will be a somber one but we hope they know how much their efforts have meant and that they arrive in Skardu to an appreciative welcome and a well needed time of rest."

"So many people have been working hard for many days both on the scene, in the country and around the globe. These efforts are testament to care and concern Oscar engendered and we know that everything that could be done was tried on his behalf."

"Our thoughts are with Oscar's family at this time and extend our deepest condolences to them. When our team is out we will let you know and have more information as it becomes available."

"Stu and Dave"

The thanks

Pena Guara confirmed the decision and details today, thanking all involved in the attempt, including also as a number of high rank officials in Spain including the President, and in Pakistan such as the Spanish Embassy in Islamabad, and local authorities.

A special gratitude went to the team operating in Pakistan, especially to Sebastián Álvaro, the American and Spanish alpinists, and the HAPs, "all those who, during these days, have been working to the limit of their possibilities," wrote the Club.

ExplorersWeb would like to add special thanks to Field Touring Alpine commercial outfitter, especially Stu and Fabrizio Zangrilli, who at great cost and risk attempted a rescue of a climber that was not one of their own. To the local outfitter ATP who sent out a request for help as fast as possible and was key in the huge Pakistani efforts; and of course to the Pena Guara Mountain Club, for giving all they had for a friend, in the eye of the impossible.

For 10 days, Pakistani Army Air Corps helicopters and mountain climbers of diverse nationalities tried a desperate attempt to rescue alive a climber from the unclimbed and unfixed wall of Latok 2, a massive peak of 7,125 meters in the heart of the Karakorum.

Spanish mountain climber Oscar Perez was at approximately 6,200 m of altitude with a broken leg and an arm immobilized after suffering an accident when he tried to scale it in alpine style with his companion Alvaro Novellón.

The rescue became a fight against the clock for Oscar, trapped on the wall with no tent, only a small sleeping bag to sleep in, a gas canister for making water and some basic food. The rescue went on with the uncertainty of knowing if Oscar Perez remained alive, since he did not have means to communicate with the outside world.

The attempt was finally called off today, due to the time elapsed, the failure to locate Oscar, and the difficulty of the route in combination with bad weather posing danger to the rescuers.

#Mountaineering #Mountaineering

Oscar Perez' climbing partner Alvaro Novellon, in image by Sebastián Álvaro (click to enlarge).
Oscar's location on the wall in image by Sebastián Álvaro (click to enlarge).
Helicopter in camp 1. Image by Sebastián Álvaro (click to enlarge).
Parts of the rescue team. All images by Sebastián Álvaro, forwarded from Islamabad today by Karrar Haidri, ExplorersWeb Pakistan (click to enlarge).

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