Monday, May 27, 2024
Everest 2023

Szilard latest victim of Everest

On 24th May climber Suhajda Szilárd lost contact with his team when climbing high and alone on Mount Everest.

After a few days of frantic worry and search, time has run out and the Mountain claims another victim.

His team gave us this update on the 28th May

The rescue team did not find Szilárd Suhajda, the search was ended

Despite the superhuman work of a search team made up of the best mountaineers in Nepal, Szilárd Suhajda has been lost on Mount Everest.

They searched for hours in the wider area of the Hillary staircase, where the climber was last seen alive. Between the 8750 meters and the 8848 meters peak, the sherpas climbed up and down several times and searched for Szilárd’s trail, all in vain. Given the past time, weather and terrain conditions, there is no further chance that the climber will be found alive, so the search on the ground has been ended. The safe return of the Sherpas currently participating in the search is the priority of the home support team.

On the early evening of May 25, the domestic backup team learned that the sherpa of another expedition saw Szilárd at the bottom of the Hillary staircase in the morning hours at approximately 8780 meters. Sherpa knew Szilárd personally before, so there was no doubt that he saw him. When they passed him, he showed signs of vitality, but signs of frostbite injuries and signs of high mountain brain edema. The sherpa leader supported his Chinese client who was extremely weak in condition down from the summit, therefore he could not in any way help Szilárd, who was lying a bit further away from the climbing path, so he was not connected to the fixed  rope. Approaching him without rope safety would have been deadly.

In possession of the information, the backup team immediately started organizing the rescue operation after evaluating the situation and in the evening hours agreed with the Nepali agency, which provides the back-up of Szilárd base camp, that they will try to fly by helicopter to a height from where Szilárd can be seen. At the same time, three sherpas will search for Szilárd, who will be able to access him in the late hours on May 26th.

It was planned that on the morning of the 26th, the three-member sherpa team, among them Gelje Sherpa, who was the first to climb the winter K2, to reach Szilárd Suhajda. The famous Italian mountaineer and helicopter pilot Simone Moro took them from Kathmandu straight to Camp 2, then set off on a reconnaissance flight to inspect the southern side of the mountain, eliminating the chance of Szilárd crashing during the process.

The three sherpa departed from camp 2 at 6400 meters on 26th at 10:00 am Nepal time. Extremely fast, in seven hours, they reached camp No. 4 at 7950 meters. This route is three times quicker than for the average climber. Here there was a fourth sherpa and a helper waiting for them in the tent. One of them planned to join the searchers, the other was tasked with providing the others with food and drink.

Following a brief rest, just two hours after the wind had calmed down, at 19:15 Nepali time, the team of three left in the direction of the Hillary staircase followed by a fourth one later. They’ve been climbing all night, reaching Hillary’s staircase by dawn. However, Szilárd Suhajda was not found at the specified location, therefore they began a systematic search of the area. First they climbed all the way to the top and then back down the Hillary staircase. The area of Hillary’s Stairway was heavily inspected for all possible fall lines to the right and left of the road, along the Nepalese and Tibetan sides, as long as they could descent from the tight ropes.

After this, the section below the stairs leading up to the south peak (8750 m) and its visible surroundings were examined with no results. At this time, following discussions with the backup team, they decided together to stop the search. One last helicopter flight will be made on May 28th to explore the side of Camp 2.

After 16 previous unsuccessful Hungarian expeditions in 27 years, Szilárd Suhajda had a realistic goal to reach the highest point on Earth without the use of supplementary oxygen and the support of high mountain cargo carriers. Climbing Everest without a bottle is an outstanding achievement globally. Over the past 45 years – since Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler proved that the task is possible and surviveable – excellent Hungarian climbers have tried to reach the top without oxygen bottles, such as László Várkonyi, Dávid Klein or the legendary Zsolt Er túlss. According to statistics, less than 2% of successful climbs take place without oxygen bottles: the small group of climbers is an even smaller number, who did not use sherpa assistance.

Szilárd Suhajda was one of the most successful Hungarian expedition climbers. In 2014, he climbed the 8051 meter Broad Peak, in 2019 as the only Hungarian to climb the 8611 meter K2, and in 2022 he climbed the 8516 meter Lhotse without the use of supplementary oxygen and the help of high mountain cargo carriers.

Szilárd Suhajda is the only Hungarian one who reached the highest mountain without a bottle or assistance, according to his tracker on Mount Everest.