A Nepali Sherpa saved a Malaysian climber who was incapacitated in Mount Everest's death zone, where temperatures can get to as low as -30°C, a Nepalese government official stated.
Gelje Sherpa, 30, was guiding a Chinese client to the 8,849-metre (29,032ft) Everest summit on May 18 when they came across another climber clinging to a rope and shivering from extreme cold.
Gelje reportedly convinced his client to give up his summit attempt so that he could rescue the climber. He posted a video of the rare Everest rescue on his Instagram:
"I saw someone in danger," Gelje posted. "A man who needed rescuing and no one else was helping. I made the decision to cancel our client's summit push so that I could bring him down to safety before he died up there alone."
"Death zone" is the nickname of the area above the last camp South Col located at 8,000 metres.
The final and most difficult part of the Everest climb is notorious for its thin air, high winds and treacherous icy slopes, which coupled with exhaustion, make any rescue almost impossible.
According to reports, Gelje wrapped the climber in a sleeping mat and carried him for over six hours back to Camp Four, where a rescue team joined to help. They dragged and carried the distressed climber to Camp Three, from where a helicopter using a long line lifted the climber down to base camp.
Nepal issued a record 478 permits for Everest during this year’s March to May climbing season. At least 12 climbers have died, the highest number for eight years, and another five are still missing on Everest’s slopes.
On May 19, 39-year-old Singaporean climber Shrinivas Sainis was reported missing after reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
A week later, on May 27, Shrinivas's wife informed the public that the search and rescue team was unable to locate her husband.