Saturday, 24 August 2013
The legendary British mountaineer and artist Andy Parkin has had a close brush with death during an expedition to India.
He was a member of a joint Indo-British expedition to Plateau Peak (7287m) in the Eastern Karakoram region. Until the 31st July this year this was an unclimbed peak, but an all Indian expedition was successful on the peak just ahead of the Indo-British team. Also on the team were Susan Jensen, Divyesh and Vineeta Muni, and Victor Saunders. Both Victor and Andy are residents of Chamonix in the French Alps. Victor earns a living as a Mountain Guide, and Andy is a professional artist. Between them they have an enviable list of technically demanding first ascents around the world.
The avalanche happened in the early hours of 15th August. Andy was in his tent when the avalanche struck, sweeping him and his tent into a nearby crevasse which was said to be 30m deep. Amazingly he survived the incident, and was then evacuated down to 5600m by the rest of his team. Due to a combination of a National Holiday and poor weather he was not able to be evacuated by the Indian Air Force until two days later, and finally reached a hospital on the 18th. He was subsequently discharged to rest in a local hotel, where he is allegedly staying until the rest of the team leave the country.
The accident, which has an uncanny resemblance to the avalanche on Makalu last September which killed Remy Lecluse, has shocked the mountaineering community. Details of the likely cause are not yet known. We wish Andy Parkin a speedy recovery.