After talking with Elisabeth here is my opinion about the pathology probably responsible for the death of Tomek.

He had been ill for a few days, his digestive troubles, like any other health problem, even minimal, were enough to impact the body’s ability to acclimatize.

Elisabeth evokes very well the big fatique that Tomek presented when arriving under the summit with the rise … “he had a lot of trouble advanced”.

This is due to dyspnea (abnormal shortness of breath felt-one of the first signs of HAPE (high altitude pulmonary edema).)

On the beginning of the descent, a cough associated with dyspnea, a sign of Alveolo-bronchial irritation due to the presence of fluid in the pulmonary alveoli (exudate that comes from the vessels) .

At this stage, the evolution is systematically fatal in the absence of very important descent, the mechanisms of acclimation being defeated.

Tomek blindness may be due to several things (major snow ophthalmia or hemorrhage or retinal ischemia problem seen in this context).

The state of Tomek has therefore worsened despite the descent around 7300 meters.

It can be imagined that Tomek had an acclimation threshold (threshold altitude beyond which his body is unable to acclimate physiologically) which was between the maximum altitude reached by Tomek in the past and the top of the Nanga Parbat (see threshold inf due to the inflammatory state punctual due to his “gastro”).

Elisabeth describes very well “traces of blood in the beard of Tomek …. it is the ultimate sign of HAPE … a” foamy pink exudate “which corresponds to the bronchial secretions with a little blood from the lesions alvéolo TOMEK’s HAPE was in its final stage, its oxygen saturation was to be particularly impaired and its ability to progress due to lack of fuel (= oxygen) at its lowest (hence its abandonment to climb back up to reach camp 2 or 3)

Tomek does not seem to have had high altitude cerebral edema because no neurological signs are present from what Elisabeth tells me. He remained coherent, non-delusional and conscious until very late. Tomek’s Disorders of Consciousness in the crevice probably due to deep hypoxia).

Tomek most likely died in the hours that followed (3,4,5 hours) falling asleep without suffering at all.

A little personal opinion about Elizabeth’s hallucinations because she will hear anything and everything.

These are not due to cerebral edema in my opinion because were resolutive … she recovered her shoe and had the lucidity to go down. Brain edema, such as pulmonary edema, would have increased without any improvement and evolved into coma then certain death without rapid and complete descent.

Dr. Frédéric CHAMPLY
doctor of the medical unit of high mountain of the Hospitals of the Country of Mont Blanc
Head of the Emergency Department / Mountain Medicine
Hospitals of Mont Blanc
380 Hospital Street

“SOS frostbite” is an open line H24 / 7J after which a mountain doctor of our team responds and gives advice on frostbite, grade (stage) frostbite and advises … advice is free – +33 4 50 47 30 97

The brutality of the events on the Nanga Parbat, the frenetic development of the Rescue Mission, solidarity and crowdfunding on Social and the contemporary wave of controversy over the meanings of these expedition, the accusations and poisoned doubts, about everything, from rescue bills, to rescue strategy, helicopter flights , corrupted governments and so on.

The Epic of Survival and the tragic choices, the extraordinary nature of human and mountaineering performances, the emotion and the joy for an incredible rescue.

The pain for the death of Tomek Mackiewitz, so tragic and at the same time already in process of elaboration and transfiguration, the collective process of sudden realization of his extraordinary, complex and contradictory figure and yet so pure and spiritual, his obsession and of his dream, light and innovative, ascetic, insane.

“The Keeper of the Nanga”, now they call him: no longer the madman, the drug addict, the ill-advised.

Respect and admiration for a woman like Elizabeth Revol, able to bear a gigantic burden of responsibility, attached to life with an unshakeable, dignified and standing determination, refusing crutches, before being taken to the hospital. Now she will have to face the harsh physical and psychic consequences of an adventure at the limits of human endurance, and she is already harassed,through her pages on Facebook by improvised judges on the media, who demand explanations and proofs.

The hypocrisy and ignorance of those who scream anger because no one wanted to save Tomek, here I think these thoughts offend his own Memory. Tomek knew perfectly what he did and what he risked. In the previous six times he tried his dream on Nanga Parbat, he had always shown that he knew when it was time to return to the Base, not to risk his life unnecessarily. He loved his children and his wife madly, he wanted to go back home. But he wanted badly to go there.

From what we know, hestarted to get sick at the top, at 8126 meters. When Elizabeth left her, the next morning, after a bivouac outside at 7500 meters and a desperate descent to 7200 meters, he was no longer able to move, to see and frostbites were serious. Although he was a man of extraordinary resistance, we know from the medical literature and from previous incidents, that within 48 hours death is certain, in case of cerebral edema, if you are not cured and taken immediately to a low altitude.

We could can talk in the future, and it will happen, on how well they were acclimatized, on the fact that the window of good weather was too small, that they attacked the summit from too far.

Sometimes it’s just damned bad luck, because Elizabeth not only did not have problems, but survived the following days in inhumane and deadly conditions.

Tomek Mackiewitz and Elizabeth Revol have opened and completed, in alpine style, the route started by Messner and Eisendle on the extreme side of Diamir Face, arrived at the saddle at 7500 meters on the Basin, they went down in front of the summit trapezoid, crossing the Kinshofer route , then they climbed at the top .

From now on, we will talk about the Mackiewitz-Revol route and one of the first winter in pure alpine style.

The Poles and the Rescue. We do not have to spend too many words, as Wielicki pointed out. “We did what we had to do”. They have saved a human life and have greatly ennobled the spirit of the true mountaineering community, the Brotherhood of Rope. Where a great human named Denis Urubko , Russian, then a Kazakh national, then a little Italian from Bergamo, then a Polish national, ran to meet a Frenchwoman, finding her in the dark of the wall and greeting her in English “Elizabeth! Nice to meet you”