Czech climber missing in Nepal

April 27th, 2009 - 3:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, April 27 (IANS) “Climb high, live long”. This was the motto of Czech mountaineer Martin Minarik who since 1999 announced he was devoted to “Himalaya and more Himalaya”.
However, the 42-year-old, who last month began a climb to the 8091m Annapurna, the 10th highest peak in the world, is feared to have run into calamity with a helicopter search failing to locate him for two days.

Minarik, who had climbed Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak, four years ago, had planned the Annapurna conquest with Slovak Dodo Kopold. Then they were joined in Kathmandu last month by French climber Elisabeth Revol.

In mid-April, after buffeting winds made the ascent impossible, Kopold left but Minarik and Revol decided to make another attempt.

After managing to reach up to 8016m, the pair were forced to retreat by blustering winds. Frostbite and exhaustion overcame Minarik and Revol was forced to move down on her own.

While she was spotted in Manang district by a helicopter and rescued to Kathmandu, there was no sign of Minarik.

Finally, the aerial search was called off Sunday.

The Annapurna ranges are the world’s most fatal peaks with a 40 percent casualty rate. While 103 people had climbed the mountains till 2005, 56 died, including celebrated mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev.

Ironically, next year would see the 60th anniversary of the first summit by a French expedition led by Maurice Herzog.

British climbing legend Chris Bonington has announced his plan to lead a trekking party to the Annapurna next year.

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