Heroic story of sherpa 'rescuing lone climber from death zone' has taken a new twist
| Last updated
You'd think that if someone saved your life that at least a thank you might be in order.
But one climber shocked people online after reportedly blocking the man who rescued him on Instagram, and thanking his sponsors instead.
However, Ravichandran had gotten into difficulty during a critical part of the climb.
He had reached the ominously-named 'Death Zone' of the mountain, so-called because the oxygen levels in the air are no longer sufficient to sustain life.
If you get into difficulty in the Death Zone, above 8,000 metres, then you are far less likely to survive as the chance of getting you to safety is much lower.
However that didn't stop Gelje Sherpa from wrapping Ravichandran in warm sheets, strapping him to his back, and reportedly carrying some 600m down the mountain to safety.
Ravichandran subsequently survived the brush with death, but for a long time didn't do anything to publicly thank his rescuer.
Gelje said: “I carried him myself all the way down.” He added that he would have 'died up there alone' if he hadn't intervened.
An official from Nepal's department of tourism told the Guardian: "It is almost impossible to rescue climbers at that altitude. It is a very rare operation.”
Ravichandran initially said: “I am alive today because I had the best and dedicated Partners – The 14th Peaks Expedition Co and Global Rescue Inc.”
However, Gelje's account suggests Ravichandran would have died if he hadn't intervened, with him telling CNN: “No one was helping him, no friends, no oxygen, no sherpas with him, no guides – so this is quite dangerous for him.”
Ravichandran has since unblocked Gelje and has now thanked him for saving his life.
However, the expedition company has since refuted claims that it was Gelje who carried him down alone.
The founder of 14 Peaks Expedition, Tashi Lakpa, told the Independent: “I was the one who mobilised everything in the right time for this rescue."
Nonetheless, he added that Gelje had been 'strongly' of the decision to cancel a client's push for the summit and to 'work as a team' to stage the rescue.
Tashi also said that a viral showing Ravichandran being carried down the mountain is not actually Gelje.
Tashi said: “Gelje is taking video."
The person carrying Ravichandran is reportedly another sherpa guide called Ngima Tashi, and he and Gelje took turns carrying Ravichandran on the descent.
At least 12 people have died on Everest in 2023 at the time of writing. In total, at least 322 people have died on the mountain since records began in 1922.
In a macabre twist, only a small proportion of the bodies have been recovered from the mountain.
Some unrecovered bodies have even become prominent in their own right, such as the body of Tsewang Paljor, also known as 'Green Boots', which many climbers pass by on their way to the top.
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/azreenyunus10