« Je suis inconscient à 5 600 m d’altitude au Pakistan » : le récit d’un alpiniste français miraculé

« Je suis inconscient à 5 600 m d’altitude au Pakistan » : le récit d’un alpiniste français miraculé

Originally from Queyras (Hautes-Alpes), Mathieu Maynadier fell very early in the powder. He started his first ski mountaineering competitions at the age of 14, became a high mountain guide at the age of 21. Then he began to collect expeditions abroad as an amateur and then professional mountaineer. Himalayas, Peru, Alaska, Nepal… He organizes three to four expeditions and trips a year, to the most beautiful mountains in the world. Pakistan is one of his favorite playgrounds. It was there that he was the victim of a serious accident in 2018. As part of a series of articles on “extreme adventurers”, he returns to this story which could have been fatal to him.

“It is July 2018 and this is my eighth expedition to Pakistan. I go there regularly to practice rock or mixed mountaineering (ice, ice and rock climbing). Why there? Because this country is full of high mountains that have never been explored. The potential is enormous when it comes to climbing and skiing. It is also a very preserved area of ​​tourism, much more than Nepal. Unfortunately for the Pakistanis, since 2001, their country has had a very bad reputation. In 2008, we were the first Westerners to return to the North. Since then, we have forged many links with the locals and I like to go back there. I am beginning to know the massifs well.

For a few years, I have been trying to explore the Tagas Valley, in the Kombous massif. Torn between India and Pakistan, it is a highly militarized area that was closed to tourists until 1981. In 2017, “walls” were spotted in this area. The following year, I went there with my friend Nicolas Favresse, another Argentinian climber, Corlos Molina, and a videographer, Jean-Louis Wertz. Our objective: to open climbing routes to the summits. But as it’s an unexplored valley, you never really know what you’ll find, it’s adventure.

Listen to our podcast with Mathieu Maynadier’s story from the player below:

“In Pakistan, it’s always a bit complicated”

Basically, a two-month expedition is planned. By removing the travel time, the accesses and the implementation of the logistics, we will spend a month in the mountains. At first, everything goes pretty well. We have no problem with porters. In Pakistan, it’s always a bit complicated. As the inhabitants have not worked with tourists for almost 40 years, there is a whole logistics to put in place, prices to negotiate… The year before, it took us four days to get started. agreement with the porters, there had been strikes…

They are not tender, but you have to understand that they live in the most total destitution. When they see us arriving with our money, they want to take advantage of it, that’s normal. We are there to work with them, but not to distribute tickets anyhow. Especially since we are not rolling on gold. In 2017, I don’t have any big sponsors yet and I’m broke to pay for these expeditions. I spend my summers running errands as a guide so I can go out in the fall.

“The ascent is going well, even if two or three times, it doesn’t go far”

Once in the valley, we realize that the rock is not of as good a quality as we had hoped, or else it is too compact. But we want to climb in style…

“I am unconscious at an altitude of 5,600 m in Pakistan”: the story of a miraculous French mountaineer

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