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Oscar Perez and Alvaro Novellón, during a previous expedition. Photo courtesy of Efe
At 10:15 am (August 14th, 2009) there has been contact from Álvaro Sebastián in Skardu. The news is very encouraging. Today, as expected, all the equipment and people have moved into base camp. The assistance from the Pakistani army is very good, so much so that the helicopter even stopped on the glacier to pick up the cargo left about four hours from base camp and moved it across. A job well done!
Sebastián also confirms that there has been a flight to the mountain to 6,300 meters. This flight was intended to indicate to Oscar that the effort is on and to give him an injection of morale. The possibility of seeing him is very remote, given the dimensions of the mountain. meanwhile there are now photos to analyze whether something can be distinguished.
Today is the independence day of Pakistan and celebration, thus everything is closed, so Sebastián does not know if its possible to send the photos. If possible, they will make it available to the media.
Although there is no official confirmation, Sebastián says that climbers must already be fixing up the route on Latok II. There will be contact about further developments at 12 pm.
We are also asked to maintain contact with the Spanish authorities because the Pakistanis are going to need to re-use the helicopters for evacuation of rescue teams after the operation. Now we have to arrange for medical assistance for when Oscar arrives in Skardu along with the need to maintain constant contact with the medical rescue team.
It is confirmed that the alpinists are already working on the wall without relief in this race against the clock. We hope the good weather in the area continues to cooperate with us.
Tomorrow (August 15th, 2009) at 12:30 pm we will hold a press conference to update the current information.
On the afternoon of Wednesday August 12th, the base camp changed from the north to the south side. At the last minute, Alvaro Novellón and Fabrizio Zangrilli, who were on the Biaffo glacier without the team overnight, were transferred by helicopter to Skardu to meet with the rest of the team coordinated by Sebastián Alvaro.
The expedition rescue team arrived from Spain Thursday August 13th at 4:00 a.m. in Pakistan. At the airport in Rawalpindi, they were waiting for the secretary of the Embassy of Spain in Pakistan. The flight arranged to move them to Skardu was suspended but they have resolved this embarking on an MI 18 military transport helicopter.
Once in Skardu, they organized a coordination meeting with people who were already in Pakistan. Then a helicopter came out and in two trips, moved equipment and the following persons:
Three climbers: Jordi Corominas, Jonatan Larranaga and Fabrizio Zangrilli
Four high altitude porters who will help to advance the rope team to the col
Seven other porters also to base camp
The helicopter will be used to try and fly over the area where Oscar Perez is located, to assess mountain conditions, and to notify Oscar that a rescue is underway.
The goal is for the porters to reach base camp, while the three climbers start on the route.
The rest of the team will arrive at base camp by helicopter today, Friday morning. In this way the Spanish climbers Daniel Ascaso, Jordi Tosas, Simon Elias, Ramon Portilla, Alvaro Corrochano, Moratinos and two other American climbers, will be able to relieve the team who have gone up to fix the route of ascent and descent.
Sebastián Alvaro communicated to us from Skardu that the feeling is now that the rescue team is now prepared and fully operational.