It took Tomaz Humar some time to realize that the solid ground beneath his feet was not another dream, and that the rescue mission had been a success for real. He is recovering very fast. The first thing he did at entering the tent was devouring some fresh pancakes only to immediately throw them up. A natural result after days without food.
As soon as nausea receded, he spoke. He spoke of an ice coffin, constantly filling up with snow, where he had stayed for six days. No space for his arms and legs, the moisture covered his body, how loud it crackled when it froze solid, and how he stayed up on his final night and almost overslept the morning of the rescue.
"I was connected through the radio, when the helicopter woke me up." he said. He managed to get ready quickly, leaving most of his things behind in the hole. The helicopter tried to reach him at least 15 times, he was trying to catch the rope with his ice-axe and when he finally succeeded, he hooked in - blinded by the snow flying around this face.
Bungee-jumping upwards thats extreme!
When he utterly exhausted managed to raise his thumbs up, he forgot to unhook his safety rope, which held him to his ice-covered home. The helicopter stretched the rope until it - luckily - tore loose, catapulting Tomaz up in the air he almost hit the helicopter!
However, he was safely taken back to solid ground, where he fell to his knees, kissed the ground, and cried.
Tomaz is grateful beyond words to the whole helicopter team, all six crew members, who almost reached beyond their capabilities. It was their first experience of such a complicated rescue, which turned out to be one of the more difficult Himalaya rescue missions.
Born again yesterday
I want to thank you all for a new birthday: Crew members, everyone involved in the rescue - both in Pakistan, Slovenia and other parts of the world - political support, Pakistani army and the members of the helicopter team," said Tomaz. "And to all who sent me positive thoughts, prayed for me and believed in a happy ending."
"My original plan was to climb that wall but the mountain said the last word, and eventually showed some compassion for we human beings. Life is beautiful! Thanks, for bestowing it upon ourselves.
The four remaining members of the expedition - Toma Humar, Ale Koelj, Anda Perdan and Maja Ro are leaving BC for Islamabad today. Their arrival at Brnik airport is scheduled for Monday at 13:00, local time.
Slovenian ace Tomaz Humar was attempting a new route on the sheer Rupal face of Nanga Parbat, climbing alone in very bad conditions. Without visibility, Tomaz got stuck in a labyrinth of Ice and unsettled snow, unable neither to climb further up nor to descend due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.
He was trapped on a ridge with snow slides running all around him, crouched in a tiny snow-hole for six days. Rescue operations started days ago but bad weather had thwarted all efforts until today.
More than 4500m-long, Nanga Parbats Rupal face is considered the biggest wall in the world. Today, only three routes have been successfully climbed there: Messner's (a.k.a German-Italian route), the Polish-Mexican route, opened by Carlos Carsolio and Jerzy Kukuczka, and Schell's route.
This was the second attempt on Rupals face for Tomaz Humar, but it was the first time he actually set foot on the new route. Two years ago, health problems and deep snow forced the climber to abort the expedition during the acclimatization stage on Messner route
Tomaz Humar was born on February 18, 1969 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He currently lives in Stranje and works for the Customs Office in Ljubljana. He has been a member of the Kamnik branch of the Alpine Club since 1987, and completed 1500 ascents, 70 of them first ascents at home and abroad.
Tomaz most remarkable climbs have been tough climbs at slightly lower altitudes: New routes on Ama Dablam, Lobuche, Nuptse West, Dhaulagiri (no summit), Aconcagua South face, etc.
About his hardest climbs, he told ExWeb: "A couple of times I had really close calls, for example, on Annapurna, I was caught in a storm above 7500m all alone for three days. Maybe that was the first time I was scared. Dhaulagiri was very hard and very dangerous too, but Nuptse was my hardest, because my partner died on the summit."
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