Latok I updates concerning Alexander Gukov rescue mission
Updates from Pakistan concerning the attempt to rescue Russian mountaineer Alexander Gukov, trapped at 6200m altitude on Latok I (7145 m) in Karakorum.
Bad weather conditions prevented helicopters from reaching the Pillar of Latok I today. The hope is that Alexander Gukov, trapped at 6200 m for the last 5 days, heard the noise of the rotor blades and that this gives him the strength to persevere. Better weather is forecast for tomorrow. In the meantime Hervè Barmasse, one of the first alpinists who with David Göttler offered to help the rescue mission, posted the following update on Facebook:
"Over the past five days we have always been on hold to attempt to rescue Alexandr Gukov. Every day we repeatedly phoned both the pilots and the Russian embassy and unfortunately due to the bad weather waited in vain for a helicopter transport us from the Gasherbrum base camp to Latok. And it’s snowing once again this evening. In the beginning we were the only mountaineers immediately ready and available, but as of today five really strong alpinists, including Aleš Cesen, arrived at Latok base camp. We have spoken to them and they too exclude the possibility of reaching Gukov by climbing up the mountain. The only remaining option is the long line. But there is little time left to save Alexandr, even if all of us who are waiting for a happy ending feel that the wait is slow and never-ending. The wait is unnerving. Difficult. And even if we now know for sure, and I’d add quite rightly so, that the army will rely on the mountaineers now at Latok base camp and no longer on us, our thoughts and our prayers are for you Gukov. Hang on in there!”
Published at 9:40 on 29/07/2018
Late last night we received the following report sent to us by Anna Piunova of www.mountain.ru and written by her Pakistani partner who is helping coordinate the attempt to rescue Russian mountaineer Alexander Gukov on Latok I.
"Lack of news does not mean nothing has been going on concerning the rescue of Aleksander Gukov, who is stuck at around 6200m on Latok-I. As reported earlier, he lost his partner Sergey Glazunov three days ago while rappelling down.
Unfortunately no rescue operation was possible yesterday as well as today given the weather conditions on Latok. Low clouds and low visibility is hampering any progress on the rescue mission. However the 5th Army Aviation High Altitude Squadron is on standby for this particular mission since the last couple of days. They are operational from 0430hours but nothing can be done in the face of adverse weather.
Alex has run out of food as well as any charge on his Iridium.
Weather permitting, the Fearless Five would be attempting a fixed line rescue at 6200m early tomorrow morning. This rescue mission would be pushing human as well as machine limits at this high altitude. The mission would also be dependant on weather conditions like visibility, wind, air temperature etc. The courageous pilots would try free air hover at 6200m without any ground effect to help them and stabilize the helicopter at this altitude long enough for Alex to attach the fixed line to his harness. The pilots are doing as much as they humanely can to come to help of a mountaineer in distress. This is an extremely risky and hazardous operation and I wish them best of luck. God speed!