ISLAMABAD: “It’s everyman for himself in the mountains,” said Press Secretary, Alpine Club of Pakistan, Karrar Haidri, while responding to criticism from a Polish climber who tried to search for Olek Ostrowski who disappeared while descending on his snowboard from Gasherbrum II.

Ostrowski was part of the polish team who intended to conquer the Gasherbrum II, the world’s 13th highest mountain at 8,035 metres.

Voicing his concern on a Polish news site, the Polish climber, Andrzej Bargiel, expressed his disappointment over the lukewarm response from his other mates when he tried to gather a team to search for the 27-year-old climber.

“It is still not clear what happened to Olek Ostrowski who vanished on GII last week,” said Karrar Haidri.

According to ACP, Olek Ostrowski was in the front navigating a huge snow block just below camp II, when he got his snowboard broken and vanished, possibly in a snow slide or falling into a crevasse.

His mate reportedly called out for him in vain and then descended to the base camp.

Andrzej Bargiel explained at the online Polish news site that he rushed to the peak with his climbing mate Dariusz Zaluski to assist in the search for the climber.

Except for three high altitude porters, no mountaineer on the mountain helped in the search for Olek Ostrowski.

According to Andrzej Bargiel, he tried to organise a search mission with the aid of Sherpas (climbing guides) since he had not climbed the peak himself but the Pakistan Army closed the mountain for expedition.

However, the Alpine Club has refused to confirm the reports that the mountain has been closed for expedition.

Andrzej Bargiel, who had just returned to Broad Peak base camp after a tiring ascent, rushed to Gasherbrum as soon as he heard about the accident of the Polish climber gone missing.

While responding to questions from the Polish news site, Andrzej Bargiel, expressed his disgust at the attitude of climbers who declined to assist in the search operation.

“No one feels obliged to help out,” said a disappointed Andrzej Bargiel who is the only climber to have reached the Broad Peak this year and skied down the slope.

“How is it less risky to try and help a mate than go for the summit,” the climber asked, adding, “The value of trying to save a life should be greater than capturing the peak.”

In spite of Andrzej Bergiel pleading with the liaison officer for three hours to let him go up with Sherpas to search for the missing climber, Gasherbrum II was declared closed on the order of the army.

“The standards that prevail in the mountains right now are very sad,” the Polish mountaineer concluded, hoping for a change.

ACP said that it would have more news from climbers who have started returning to base camps and are gradually reaching Islamabad for departure to their homes in Europe.

Published in Dawn, August 3rd, 2015

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