Markus Kronthaler's brother to bring back his body from BP
Markus Kronthaler's brother to bring back his body from Broad Peak: "They can't be left there like garbage"
(K2Climb.net) “I don’t just want to bring by brother down – I want to change the ethical principles in high altitude climbing."
Much like in ancient ocean burials where deceased sailors were returned to the water for a final rest, dead mountaineers are often left on the peaks which claimed their lives. For safety reasons - but also because many wish to remain in the big open places they loved. Sometimes though, climbers' bodies rest right on the trail, in plain view. This can be hard to accept for relatives.
Past summer, Austrian Markus Kronthaler perished on Broad peak while descending from the summit. His climbing mate was helped down by Polish climbers, but nothing could be done for Markus. The Polish only covered him up; the frozen surface preventing a burial of the young mountaineer. Now his brother wants to take him down.
Lying in full sight of other climbers
Broad peak will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its first ascent next year, and a large amount of climbers is expected on the mountain.
“I too will climb Broad peak together with a friend,” writes Markus’ brother Georg Kronthaler. “But there is nothing to celebrate in my ascent. Markus’ remains are lying exposed at 8000 meters, in a place all climbers pass by. Many will take pictures I'm sure – this is something my family and I just can’t accept. Thus, my goal on Broad will be to take my brother down and bring him back home, where he will be properly buried.”
“I expect this expedition to raise some media attention, since climbers deceased on the summit of an 8000er are never brought back down. At that altitude, rescuers consider the risks too high to recover a dead person, and thus corpses have added up on the highest peaks through the years."
"But if I manage to take by brother down, these arguments won’t be valid anymore – and I’ll prove rescues are possible at 8000 meters. Of course, such an operation involves money, so I expect some heated discussion on the subject.”
Walking over corpses
“I don’t just want to bring by brother down – I want to change the ethical principles concerning high altitude climbing. We can’t only focus on our sport goals and thus walk literally over corpses – someone who had an accident doesn’t deserve to be left there like garbage.”
Georg Kronthaler's team on Broad Peak will include his friend Stefan Lackner and five porters. They expect the costs to reach Euro 50,000 and are collecting funds for the task.
Ed. note: The fate of David Sharp on Everest raised an ethical debate on whether dying mountaineers should be left without aid high up on a mountain. That situation is not to be confused with Markus' however; who was found already dead while his climbing mate Sepp Bachmair's life was saved thanks to climbers who put human values before their ambition: Polish Piotr Morawski sacrifized his own summit bid, and Spaniard Jorge Egocheaga helped in the rescue despite being exhausted after a speed ascent on the peak.
Here goes an account of the events, according to Markus' team:
Markus Kronthaler was the leader of a nine-member Austrian team hoping to retrace Hermann Buhl's steps on Broad Peak and Chogolisa.
On July 5, 2006 Markus Kronthaler, Sepp Bachmair and Peter Ressmann set off from Broad Peak's C3 towards the summit. Ressmann summited ahead of the others, and on the way back he met Bachmair and Kronthaler, who had found shelter in a snow cave at 7900m. They wanted to bivouac for the night there, in order to reach the summit on the next day.
Kronthaler and Bachmair set off from their bivouac place towards the summit at 7:00 am in the morning of July 7. Bachmair topped out at about 3:00pm; Markus joined him a half hour later. The two climbers started descending around 4:30 pm. Not far from the summit, Markus’ condition seriously deteriorated - the two climbers continued at a very slow pace. Sepp tried his best to help his mate down, but night fell as the climbers approached the foresummit. Markus wouldn’t survive the night. He died in the arms of Sepp by 6:00am on July 8, out of exhaustion and dehydration.
Bachmair continued descending alone. He passed the foresummit and by 10:00 am, at 7800m, he met Polish Piotr Pustelnik, Piotr Morawski, and Slovak Peter Hamor. Morawski aborted his own summit bid in order to help Sepp back to C3. As the Polish communicated the events, Spanish climber and Medical Doctor Jorge Egocheaga ran up from BC.
Jorge, exhausted after a fast ascent from BC to the summit and back in 21 hours still managed to rush up to 7200m in order to take care of Sepp from that point. Bachmair was not only dehydrated and exhausted – he also suffered from frostbite in his hands and feet. Jorge treated him with medicines and helped him down to BC, which they reached on July 9 at 4:00 pm. One day later Sepp was evacuated to Skardu in a helicopter.
Further information at: http://www.mounteverest.net/news.php?news=15329