Published On: Wed, Jun 7th, 2023
World | 2,898 views

Climber rescued from Everest without oxygen ‘insisted on going to the top’ | World | News

A seasoned Mount Everest climber has become embroiled in a viral social media spat with a Sherpa who recently saved his life. Social media footage captured Gelje Sherpa carrying Malaysian climber Ravichandran Tharumalingam into the dangerous “death zone” of Mount Everest, when oxygen levels are low and temperatures drop below freezing, for six hours.

On May 18, Tharumalingam was saved by Gelje from certain death after the brave man risked his own life to help the climber descend the mountain.

The climber and Sherpa were forced into the spotlight as a result.

Gelje claims he and a Chinese client he was escorting met Tharumalingam, who was without bottled oxygen and shivering, by chance.

He persuaded his client to abandon their summit attempt so they could help the stranded climber.

Gelje told reporters: “When I found him in that state, my heart did not let me leave him there,

“When I decided to go down, my client did not agree at first. Of course, he was there after spending a lot of money, it must have been his dream for years and he had to find time to come here to climb.

“He got angry and said he wanted to go to the summit.

“I had to scold him and tell him that he has to descend because he was my responsibility and I couldn’t send him to the summit on his own. He got upset.”

He made it clear that his goal was to safely carry the injured climber down the mountain.

He took on the challenge of carrying Tharumalingam on his back for the exhausting six-hour journey, descending more than 1,900 feet through difficult terrain while using his bed mat as a makeshift wrap.

More Sherpas joined the rescue operation at Camp 4, the final camp before reaching the summit of Mount Everest.

Prior to the 2023 season, Tharumalingam had successfully reached the Everest summit on three separate occasions, despite experiencing frostbite and losing fingers to the extreme cold just last year.

Upon his return to Malaysia, he made an appearance on national television in early June, recounting his extraordinary tale of rescue.

However, conspicuously absent from his narrative was any mention of Gelje, the Sherpa who played a pivotal role in saving his life.

He purposefully omitted Gelje, the person who is arguably responsible for saving his life, from his numerous Instagram and Facebook posts detailing his recovery.

Tharumalingam thanked his insurance company and other rescue sponsors instead of Gelje, who Tharumalingam preferred not to thank directly.

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