French diplomat thanks Polish mountaineer who saved climber

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — France’s ambassador to Poland greeted a group of Polish mountain climbers returning from a three-month expedition Monday, including one who helped rescue a French climber who was stranded with her Polish partner in the Himalayas.

The team arrived at Warsaw Chopin Airport after ending an expedition to make the first winter ascent of K2, the world’s second-tallest peak at 8,611 meters (28,252 feet) high. Severe weather prevented the climbers from reaching their goal.

The Polish team was waiting for a break in the weather in January when two members made a nighttime ascent of another Himalayan peak, Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat, to reach stranded French climber Elisabeth Revol.

French Ambassador Pierre Levy gave Polish mountaineer Adam Bielecki flowers to thank him for risking his own life to save Revol. Teammate Denis Urubko left the expedition earlier and wasn’t at the welcome home event.

“In the name of France, I want to thank you and the whole team for saving Elisabeth Revol,” Levy said in Polish.

Rescuers were unable to get to Revol’s climbing partner, Tomasz Mackiewicz. He was ill and unable to move on his own at a higher elevation when Revol was advised to start making her way down to meet rescuers. The 43-year-old Mackiewicz is presumed dead.

The Polish expedition’s leader, Krzysztof Wielicki, said team members will make more attempts to climb K2 in winter and he was happy they all returned home safely.

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