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with Stefan Nestler

Fear for Alexander Gukov on Latok I

Alexander Gukov (in 2014)

Alexander Gukov must persevere. This Friday, dense clouds covered the 7,145-meter-high Latok I in the Karakoram in Pakistan. The helicopter of the Pakistan army, with which the 42-year-old Russian mountaineer is to be rescued from the North Ridge, stayed on the ground. As reported yesterday, Gukov is trapped at 6,200 meters without equipment, his rope partner Sergey Glazunov had fallen to his death while abseiling. “Damn! Where do all the avalanches come from? I can’t even boil water,” Alexander wrote to Anna Piunova from by SMS today. Later he sounded a little more optimistic: “I managed to find half a Snicker and also drink some water.” His food supplies have run out after more than two weeks on the mountain.

Several options

Gukovs position where he’s waiting for help

It is not yet clear how to rescue Gukov. There are several options. The rescuers could try to get him off the mountain with a long rope from the helicopter. Or they supply Alexander from the air with food and equipment so that he can continue his descent on his own. Another possibility would be that other climbers move towards him on the ridge. The Italian Herve Barmasse and the German David Göttler, currently in the base camp of the almost eight-thousander Gasherbrum IV, have offered their help, but have not yet been able to get to Latok I. “Bad weather continues. No chance to fly to Latok I,” Herve wrote on Instagram. According to the weather forecast, a small window might open on Saturday morning. However, the weather is not expected to improve significantly until Sunday.

Update 28 July: Also today on Saturday no rescue flight was possible due to clouds on the mountain. The battery of Alexander Gukov‘s satellite phone is now empty, so that he can no longer send SMS from his position at 6,200 m on the North Ridge. – But there is a light at the end of the tunnel: “Weather has improved, sky is already visible here and there, but the mountain is still in clouds. Things are looking good for the morning,” reports Viktor Koval from Latok I base camp.

The weather on Sunday

Update 29. July: Again nothing. During the night from Saturday to Sunday 20 centimeters of fresh snow fell. Latok I remained in clouds. Only in the afternoon the rescue helicopter was able to take off. Apparently the pilots had no visual contact with Alexander Gukov. “Today the helicopters will no longer fly. I hope Sasha heard us. And he hears that we haven’t left him, haven’t forgotten him. We do everything possible, even in bad weather. Tomorrow it is predicted to be clear from morning to evening. Help us, Lord,” wrote Anna Piunova afterwards on


27. July 2018 | 15:29