Top alpinists Luka Lindic and Ines Papert have survived a big avalanche in the Himalayas.
The pair were on an expedition to the south face of Shishapangma for Papert’s first 8,000er and Lindic’s second after Broad Peak back in 2016.
They had support up to base camp at 5,300 metres, which they reached on April 17 with their cook Nima and their kitchen aid Carsong.
News from Ines and @lindicluka: they had to retreat from the mountain after getting caught in an avalanche. Link in bio for the full report. @arcteryx @blackdiamond @lowa.outdoor @lyofood #shishapangma2018 #alpinism #mountaineering #expedition #himalayas #liveclimbrepeat #womenwhoexplore #outdoorwomen
From then on there would be no Sherpa, no fixed ropes and no bottled oxygen.
They decided to attempt a new route on the neighbouring Nyanang Ri (7,071 m) to get acclimatized.
They planned to climb to the summit via the south flank, which is technically challenging in the upper part.
They transported their gear to the mountain and waited for a two-day weather window. On April 30, they headed up.
They got to a bivy at 6,300 metres and wanted to reach the summit in one push from there.
On May 1, they felt safe and well protected as they placed our small tent in a crevasse, but it snowed all night.
Papert wrote on her blog, “It was around 5 a.m. as the entire flank began to slide. An avalanche! We startled up from our sleep as we noticed what was going on.
“We immediately knew what was happening and realized the severity of the situation. While Luka left the tent via the entrance I ripped a hole in the wall of the tent in panic. The air was getting scarce so fast. The weight of the load of snow was already pressing on my body.
“We’ve had get out of here! Luka pulled me from the tent and we stood outside in our socks and had to watch our tent get swallowed under the snow load. Luka saved our shoes at the last moment.
“Otherwise we would have been trapped. We tried to recover from the shock in a small snow cave. There was nothing left to do but watch and wait until the situation calmed down. It was a full-moon night and we could see what had happened even without our headlamps.
“What we realized fast: we were still trapped. Our ropes, ice axes, and part of our gear were buried with the tent. There was no way of retreating from the mountain without our gear. Luka started shoveling in a marathon and two hours later we pulled our belongings from our completely destroyed tent.
“An immediate descent and rapel in heavy snowfall was what followed. We each did what we had to do in silence. We didn’t talk about what had just happened. Each of us tried to process what we had just experienced in any way possible.”