By Muhammad Luqman
A Russian climber from a peak in Gilgit-Baltistan areas of northern Pakistan has been rescued, according to a statement of Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of Pakistan’s armed forces.
Stranded at about 20,000 feet on Latok I peak in the Biafo glacier region, Alexander Gukov was rescued early Tuesday morning by the Pakistan Army Aviation. He has been shifted to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Skardu for medical attention.
“The unprecedented rescue mission was undertaken by Pakistan army aviation helicopters under extreme weather conditions making it the first ever rescue from such a height in Pakistan,” the statement said.
The Russian climber had been stuck since July 25 and had exhausted his supplies three days ago. Seven rescue attempts were made between July 26 and 30 but snow clouds prevented rescuers from locating and retrieving the climber.
Gukov and his partner Sergey Glazunov had completed their climb after coming within 600 feet of the summit and began retreating down the mountain on July 25. In an accident, Glazunov fell to his death and Gukov sent an SOS signal for help.
Latok I is a 23,442-foot peak in the Karakoram range and climbing the North Ridge of Latok I is a mountaineering challenge that has never been achieved. Gukov and Glazunov came the closest to the peak of the mountain.
“The Russian government has conveyed deep gratitude to Pakistan for the rescue and lauded the professionalism of Pakistan Army for successfully carrying out this courageous operation,”according to Foreign office spokesman.