Queenstowner’s Himalayan expedition ends in harrowing rescue


Queenstown mountaineer Ben Dare’s attempt at a first ascent of a Himalayan peak is over after his climbing partner fell 90 metres.

Dare and Scott Blackford-Scheele were pushing for the summit of 6960-metre Nepalese mountain Anidesha Chuli yesterday when the accident happened.

Blackford-Scheele, 24, suffered a serious knock to the head and concussion in the fall, about 500ms from the summit. He was airlifted to hospital.

“Ben did an amazing job bringing Scott back down to Camp 2 at 6000m and activating the emergency beacon, which alerted authorities in both New Zealand and Nepal,” reads the expedition online update.

“Rob [Frost] and Andrei [van Dusschoten] trekked over night from Base Camp at 4800m to meet Ben and Scott at Camp 2.

“The four exhausted men huddled together in the tent while a helicopter was arranged to airlift Scott to hospital in Kathmandu.

“Due to Scott’s condition, the team could not risk bringing him down the mountain.”

Dare, 29, and Blackford-Scheele are in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, where the injured climber has been assessed in hospital.

The other two members of the all-kiwi team remain at Camp 2 on East Ridge of the mountain, known as the White Wave, above the Ramtang Valley – about 115km east of Everest. They will shuttle between there and Base Camp over the coming days to retrieve the team’s gear.

“Although achieving the summit will no longer be on the agenda, the team remain positive and very good friends,” reads the update.

A May 8 update says hospital scans results for Blackford-Scheele are positive and he is recovering well.