Climber forced to leave partner to die
A FRENCH mountaineer who was pulled from Pakistan's "killer mountain" in a daring late-night rescue operation has told of her agony at leaving her stricken climbing partner behind.
Speaking from hospital, Elisabeth Revol, 37, revealed that rescuers urged her to abandon frostbite-ridden companion Tomasz Mackiewicz, 43, as he lay bleeding to death in their tent at 7000 metres, The Sun reports.
She described the decision as "terrible and painful".
The pair were attempting to scale the 8125 metre Nanga Parbat in the middle of winter when they succumbed to altitude sickness at the summit.
Revol, who faces having her hands and left foot amputated due to frostbite, weighed just 45kg at the end of her ordeal.
She said: "We hardly had a second at the top. We had to rush to get down.
"Tomasz told me, 'I can't see anything any more.'
"At one point he couldn't breathe, he took off the protection he had in front of his mouth and he began to freeze.
"His nose became white and then his hands, his feet."
After spending the night huddled in a crevasse, Revol saw that Mackiewiczwas bleeding from the mouth - a potentially fatal sign of late-stage altitude sickness.
After sending a distress signal by satellite phone, rescuers told her she could be saved - but only if she left Mackiewicz behind at 7000 metres.
She wept: "They told me, 'If you go down to 6000 metres, we can pick you up".
"It wasn't a decision I made, it was imposed on me."
She began the perilous descent alone and having left the majority of her kit with Mackiewicz in a desperate final bid to keep him warm.
She then started to develop altitude sickness, hallucinating that rescuers were bringing hot tea - in exchange for her left shoe.
She was rescued after making the rest of the trip barefoot, leading to severe frostbite.
Nanga Parbat is known as the "killer mountain" because 30 climbers died before the summit was reached in 1953.
Revol took a four-year break from climbing in 2009 when her rope partner, Martin Minarik, died on another Himalayan jaunt as they descended Annapurna in Nepal.
But this time she vowed to continue, saying: "I need it. It's so beautiful".
This article originally appeared in The Sun and is republished here with permission