A Malaysian climber narrowly survived Mount Everest after a Nepali Sherpa guide hauled him down from below the summit in a “very rare” high-altitude rescue, according to a government official.
Gelje Sherpa, 30, was guiding a Chinese client to the 8 849m summit of Everest on 18 May, when he saw the Malaysian climber clinging to a rope and shivering from extreme cold in the area called the “death zone”, where temperatures can dip to -30C or lower.
Gelje hauled the climber 600m down from the Balcony area to the South Col, over about six hours, where Nima Tahi Sherpa, another guide, joined the rescue.
“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 said.
A helicopter using a long line then lifted him from the 7 162m high camp three down to base camp.
The summit of Mount Everest as seen on top of Kala Patthar, the famous view point located behind Gorak Shep, a small village in Sagarmatha National Park.
“It is almost impossible to rescue climbers at that altitude,” Department of Tourism official Bigyan Koirala told the Reuters news agency.
“It is a very rare operation.”
Gelje said he convinced his Chinese client to give up his summit attempt and descend the mountain, saying it was important for him to rescue the climber.
“Saving one life is more important than praying at the monastery,” said Gelje, a devout Buddhist.
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