You Won't Believe The Heartbreaking Decision This French Climber Had To Make To Save Her Life

Two experienced French mountaineers decided to tackle a very difficult but thrilling mountain climb together. The journey to the top was rough, but the friends managed to make it. On the way down, however, an unexpected problem occurred, leaving one climber to make a devastating choice…

Climber Tomek Mackiewicz was born into a mountaineering family. After overcoming a heroin addiction as a teen, he began climbing mountains as an escape. In 2008, he climbed the highest Canadian peak, Logan Mountain, with his good friend Merek Klonowk. Tomek’s love of climbing only grew from there, and there was one mountain, in particular, he had his eyes set on...

Killer Mountain

Tomek was determined to conquer Nanga Parbat, a 26,000 feet mountain in Pakistan. It's the ninth tallest mountain in the world and is known for its very difficult climb. Thousands of people have died attempting to climb this mountain, earning it the sad but appropriate nickname of "Killer Mountain."

An Ambitious Plan

Tomek was not afraid of the challenge of Killer Mountain at all. In fact, he was pretty much craving the thrill! He began searching for a climbing partner to trek up the mountain with, and hopefully, make it to the top. His newfound partner was experienced and passionate about mountaineering too!

The Perfect Match

Elisabeth Revol was just like Tomek in that she loved climbing. At 19, she started off by climbing on very rough hills and roads without oxygen bottles to help prepare herself for high altitudes. Almost two decades later, Elisabeth had been adequately prepared to take on new climbing challenges. In seeing her passion and skills, Tomek decided to partner up with Elisabeth for Killer Mountain.

Tackling Killer Mountain

Tomek and Elisabeth began climbing together in 2014. The two made three attempts to make it to the top of Killer Mountain. The first two times, they didn't make it, but learned from mistakes made and tried again. The third time really was the charm in the winter of 2018, as the two finally made it to the peak! But it was their descent down that caused real problems...

Health Battles

The climbers quickly had to descend because of the severe weather and high altitude. On the way back down, Tomek began suffering from altitude sickness and snow blindness, making it difficult for him to walk and see. He also had severe frostbite and was bleeding from the mouth. With Tomek's health issues, the two stopped to rest and try to get warmer.

A Distress Call

After seeing Tomek's condition, Elisabeth knew that she had to reach out for help. She sent out a distress call by satellite phone, and rescuers told her that she could be rescued if she made it down to 20,000 feet. But Tomek himself was in dire straits, leaving Elisabeth with a difficult choice to make...

An Unimaginable Decision

With Tomek in no condition to walk, Elisabeth would have to leave him behind if she wanted to be rescued. She made the difficult and painful choice to leave Tomek behind, giving him most of her gear to try to keep him warm. He understood, and both hoped that rescuers would be back for him soon. Over the course of a few nights, Elisabeth started her difficult journey down. She struggled with altitude sickness, and hallucinations, believing that rescuers were bringing her hot tea in exchange for her shoes.

Finally Rescued

Rescuers in a helicopter found Elisabeth barefoot and suffering from severe frostbite. She couldn't speak and had to immediately go to the hospital for medical attention. Though at risk of getting her hands and left foot amputated, Elisabeth was alive. But what of her partner Tomek? Had rescuers been able to get to him in time?

A Tragic Ending

Sadly, rescuers did not go back for Tomek due to the terrible weather, a decision that still angers Elisabeth. With his health in really bad shape before Elisabeth even left, he is presumed dead. It's a decision that still saddens and angers Elisabeth, who believes that rescuers could have reached them in time if they were better organized. Though she lost her friend and partner, Elisabeth said, if given the chance, she would definitely climb again.