Suhajda Szilard, the Hungarian mountaineer who was attempting the scaling of Mt. Everest without any oxygen or a personal Sherpa guide has been missing since 24th May 2023. Szilard set off on his own from Camp 4 of Everest Base Camp without any oxygen or personal Sherpa support on the Tuesday night of 23rd May.
After he left Camp 4 on his solo scaling without carrying oxygen or taking support with him, the Hungarian mountaineer contacted his home team at around 7:45 am Nepali time. The solo climber notified his home team that he has reached ‘The Balcony’ region of Mt. Everest, a small platform for resting while ascending (at the elevation of 8,400 meters).
“Szilard said he was feeling strong and the weather was good, in the message he delivered to his home team.”
Suhajda Szilard | Contactless at Everest
The Hungarian mountaineer was carrying a GPS tracking but it was not working consistently on the slopes of the Himalayas. The last signal from Szilard’s tracking device was at an elevation of 8,795 meters. After that, there was no new contact from the Hungarian solo–no-oxygen climber.
Szilard was carrying all the gears and supplies by himself from his ascend from Base Camp 4 without help from a Sherpa guide. Although he was sticking with the criteria of scaling without oxygen, the Hungarian mountaineer also refused to carry emergency oxygen with him in the ascend. But, he had well-planned his acclimatization strategy assuring him the certainty of success.
However, even in the 24-hour span till the next day, there was still no contact from the Hungarian expeditioner. And what made things even worse was that the following summit teams didn’t see signs of him on the trail near the summit.
Follow-Up Team Imagine Nepal Expedition
The team from Imagine Nepal on an expedition with two clients and six Sherpa guides who summited on 25th May 2023 reaching the top at noon saw no signs of him. The Imagine Nepal team was aware that the Hungarian mountaineer had been and they were even looking for the missing Szilard. But, they were not able to locate the whereabouts of the missing Hungarian climber.
After his message from ‘The Balcony’ at 8,400 meters, Szilard’s tracker registered occasional signals that showed him moving slowly towards the summit. During the last message to his home team at around 1:30 pm (local time) via satellite phone from the elevation of 8,630m, Szilard told the team that he was doing okay and still felt that the summit was doable. However, the Hungarian climber also admitted that it was hard and getting late.
The final signals about his whereabouts were at 8,700 meters and 8,795 meters (at local 7:30 pm) when he was making his way to the top. Also, according to his regular climbing buddy, David Klain, believes that Szilard isn’t probably carrying a radio device either.
On the night of 24th May, two of the Sherpas were sent to Base Camp 4 to look for Szilard in the nearby tents and up toward the mountain trail, but they still were not able to locate him.
Outfitted by the Seven Summit Treks, the Hungarian climber just hired them to provide logistics to the base camp and was self-sufficient carrying his own gear and supplies onwards.
Hungarian Climber Suhajda Szilard Witnessed at the Foot of Everest’s Hillary Step
Although the expedition team from Imagine Nepal didn’t find Suhajda Szilard who had been missing on the Everest. It was reported that an unidentified team of climbers located the Hungarian climber at the foot of Everest’s Hillary Step.
According to the report, Szilard was approximately at the bottom of the Hillary Step (at an altitude of 8,780 meters). The unidentified team was clearly able to locate the missing climber from his clothes. As they passed by him, Szilard was showing signs of life and there were also signs of cerebral edema and frostbite.
However, there was a slight blunder in the report, on 26th May 2023, Imagine Nepal’s leader Mingma Gyalje Sherpa was not fully aware of the situation on the route to the summit. The expedition team from Imagine Nepal had actually split into two teams during the summit and it was one of the teams that located the Hungarian mountaineer in such a miserable state.
The first group consisting of 4 Sherpas and a client successfully scaled to the top of Everest around 7:30 – 8:30 am. However, the second team guiding a 60-year-old Chinese woman was ascending much slower than the other unit. And, while the Chinese client stopped at the Hillary Step unable to proceed further, they saw Suhajda Szilard nearby showing some signs of life.
Rescue Team Deployment
The Seven Summit Treks and Szilard’s home team decided to fly a helicopter to a height from where they could locate Suhajda Szilard at the foot of Everet’s Hillary Step on the morning of 26th May.
And, at the same time, three Sherpas were sent for Suhajda Szilard, reaching the witnessed point at the late part of the day.
Timea Legindi, Szilard’s wife, giving a statement on the rescue mission stated that although there is a very slim chance of finding her husband alive at that altitude, she fully trusts him and believes in miracles.
However, the rescue team was not able to find the Hungarian mountaineer on the spot the second team of Imagine Nepal had spotted him on 25th May. The rescue team spent hours looking for the missing Hungarian climber, climbing back and forth several times in the 8,750 m and 8,848 m summit.
But the rescue team was still not able to find them. As there was no further chance of finding the climber alive considering the time period, weather, and terrain conditions, the ground search team was called off. Considering the safety of the Sherpas in the rescue team, the ground search was terminated.
A final helicopter search team looked for Suhajda Szilard on Everest above Base Camp 2 on 28th May.
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Suhajda Szilard Last Photo – Final Glimpse of Hungarian Solo Climber’s Expedition on Everest
A fellow climber from the Seven Summit expedition team, Ben Ferrer, in his return from the summit of Everest, saw the Hungarian climber sitting at the Balcony region. The solo no-O2 Hungarian mountaineer appears to be sitting in the Balcony zone in a photograph, Ferrer agreed to release. Ferrer didn’t expect that it would be the last visual record of Szilard on the slopes of the mountain.
On his descent, Ferrer greeted the Hungarian climber and asked how he was doing, to which Szilard’s response was just ‘Okay’.
According to Ferrer, it was a fine day for the summit clear sunny, and windless, probably the best of the season with less crowd and warm temperature. Afterward, Szilard continued his ascent while Ben Ferrer climbed down with his expedition team, not knowing it would be the last time he ever saw the Hungarian legendary mountaineer.
Six hours later Szilard crossed paths with the Canadian mountaineer, Elia Saikaly, who was filming Yousef Al Shatti from Kuwait, a fellow no-O2 climber. When Saikaly tried to communicate with the solo Hungarian mountaineer, he didn’t respond and was just moving slowly but steadily towards the summit from the balcony area. ‘A determined man cut from a different cloth’, the Canadian mountaineer’s description of the determined Hungarian solo climber who kept pushing steadily for the summit.
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