ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan’s military launched a helicopter evacuation of a Canadian and a Finnish mountain climber who were stranded on a peak in the country’s north, according to the Alpine Club of Pakistan.
The two climbers — Donald Allen Bowie of Canada and Lotta Henriikka Nakyva of Finland — were evacuated due to severe altitude sickness, according to Alpine Club secretary Karrar Haidri. Altitude sickness is characterized by headache, nausea, dizziness and exhaustion.
An initial statement from Pakistan’s military listed Bowie as American, but the Alpine Club confirmed he’s originally from Alberta, Canada.
The two climbers were part of an international winter expedition to the 26,000-foot (8,000-meter) Broad Peak, the world’s 12th highest mountain. The team was led by Russian-Polish climber Denis Urubko.
Nkyava described the ordeal in a post on social media, saying, “We got caught in a storm. My right hand was going numb, along with my toes. I was frozen to my core. We kept on climbing until somewhere around 6600m when Don made the decision to set camp.”
“Long story short, we stayed there for 2 nights, all digits alive, COLD af, we ran out of food, low on gas (dehydration), took a beating from some winds when coming down but eventually got down yesterday to basecamp,” she said.
A photo released by Pakistan’s military showed the climbers apparently in good spirits, smiling and sitting in a helicopter.
Broad Peak is located in the Karakoram range on the border of Pakistan, India and China. The Karakoram range is among a complex of ranges including the Himalayas. Broad Peak is located around 6 miles (10 kilometers) from K2 mountain, the second highest peak in the world.
In March, an Italian and a British climber died on Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat, known as “Killer Mountain” because of its dangerous conditions.
This story has been updated to correct that one of the climbers is Canadian and lives in the United States. He is not originally from the United States, as Pakistan’s military initially reported.