Mountaineer and filmmaker Elia Saikaly was the last person to see Hungarian climber Szilárd Suhajda alive on Mount Everest. Suhajda was still on his way to the summit at the time. Saikaly talked to Hungarian tabloid Blikk, saying that he was almost certain that the Hungarian climber would not survive the summit attempt.
“It was after 4 p.m. when I saw him. He was moving very slowly, but steadily. But by then it was very late and he had still not reached the South Summit, which meant that it was incredibly risky to continue climbing. On top of that, the weather conditions, which had been favorable until then, started to turn bad, the wind picked up and it started to get dark,” said Elia Saikaly, reporting on the encounter with Szilárd Suhajda. In such conditions, he said, the attempt to summit was almost certainly doomed to failure, or even tragedy.
The Canadian mountaineer said he was sure that due to bad timing and his condition, Suhajda would not return.
Considering how slowly he was going and the other hindering factors, there was very little chance that he would be able to make the trip. He should have turned back,”
said Saikaly, who tried to speak to Szilárd Suhajda but received no reply.
“The last time I looked at him, he was only 20 meters below the South Summit, but he was still standing and kept going,” Elia told Blikk. He was was able to see Suhajda until he had to help his friend. Elia had been climbing with a fellow athlete, also without oxygen, and although they were going much faster than Suhajda, they knew that they would not reach the South Summit in time, not to mention that the way back seemed impossible. Eventually, they decided to turn back.
The Canadian climber also told Blikk that Suhajda did not have a backpack and did not seem to have any emergency plans.
Although he did not want to be insensitive, it was obvious to him then and there that the Hungarian climber had little chance of surviving. “But he was determined, he just kept going,” he added.
Meanwhile, the last photo of the Hungarian climber was published. It was made by Ben Ferrer, a member of the Seven Summit Climbs team, who was returning from the summit when he met a climber sitting at the Balcony. As it turned out, it was Szilárd Suhajda.
According to Ferrer, the Hungarian seemed tired, and so he incorrectly assumed that he was letting his team know his turnaround point. But eventually, Suhajda got up and continued climbing. It was six hours later that he encountered Saikaly.
Meanwhile, on Monday morning, sherpas found Szilárd Suhajda’s belongings left behind. The jacket and tent were at an altitude of 6,500 meters. The sherpa who found the equipment is almost certain that it is the Hungarian mountaineer’s belongings, as the logos of the companies that supported Suhajda’s expedition are clearly visible.
There is still no explanation as to why he left his equipment at this level, as it is unusual to start directly to the summit from that point, just above Camp 2.
The search for missing persons on Everest, including Suhajda and a sherpa, is still on: drones will be sent up, but for the time being they cannot do so because of the bad weather.
Szilárd Suhajda lost his life on Mount Everest when he tried to climb the 8,848-meter peak without using an oxygen tank, and without the help of sherpas. The last time his GPS gave a signal was at 8,795 meters, less than 50 meters from the summit, at the bottom of the Hillary step. Here, other climbers saw Suhajda, but by the time the sherpas sent to rescue him arrived, he was gone.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szilárd Suhajda