Record-breaking rescues expected as pandemic abates and climbers crowd into Nepal.
Lebanon, N.H. – May 10, 2022 – Global Rescue, the leading provider of medical evacuation services, is deploying an emergency medical operations team to Nepal in anticipation of a Mount Everest spring climbing season with a higher number of emergency medical rescues.
“We anticipate a record number of mountaineers crowding into Nepal to climb Mount Everest and trek the Himalayas, and that means a concurrent likelihood of a record number of emergency medical rescue operations,” said Dan Richards Global Rescue’s CEO and a global member of the World Travel and Tourism Council.
Whenever high-altitude trekkers and mountaineers convene for high-risk, life-changing ascents, Global Rescue medical operations experts deploy to the region to help save lives.
“We will have boots on the ground to support medical operations, logistical and emotional support. People traveling to the Himalayas to climb and trek are in unfamiliar circumstances, and we help when they are in trouble,” said David Koo, a former combat medic and the associate director of operations for Global Rescue. “We deploy anytime it’s a primary activity area, where we have a lot of members taking part in extreme activities. We have lots of assistance in medical support wherever we deploy.”
For more than two years, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted international mountaineering, closing or limiting access to popular, challenging mountains worldwide. It’s unclear what COVID-19 or its variants will mean for the 2022 spring climbing season. But experts are making predictions based on their experience and observations.
“Last year, Mount Everest hit record permit numbers but it happened very late,” said Dan Stretch, operations manager for Global Rescue and a veteran of deployments to Nepal during the climbing seasons. “This year, like most things, the number of people embarking on high climbs in the Himalayas is still unclear.”
Legendary high-climber and a member of the Global Rescue Mountain Advisory Council, Ed Viesturs, suggests Nepal will be extra crowded. “There won’t be any climbing access from the China side. It’ll be interesting to see what countries like Nepal and Pakistan require for entry,” he said.
Providing nonstop, 24/7 medical emergency support for a massive number of people taking part in extreme, high-altitude activities is not for the faint of heart.
“We are flexible and physically fit in order to be efficient on the ground. We constantly research the area and the resources available. We stay close to the airport to coordinate and be part of airborne transports. Unexpected weather plays a big role. We make certain to have a plan B that includes a sleeping bag, portable oxygen canisters and special high-altitude equipment when we pack — in case we have to overnight on the mountain at Mount Everest Base Camp (17,598 feet/5,364 meters) to support emergency rescue operations,” Koo said.
The Global Rescue deployment team remains on-site for the duration of the two-month climbing season. The days are long, often lasting up to 16 hours.
“We are active from sunrise to sundown. If there are no ongoing rescues, that’s when we follow up with rescued members, check on their care, complete administrative requirements and rest up. Each deployed team member has at least one day a week to chill out, get a massage, go sightseeing, do anything to rest, recuperate and prepare for the next few days,” Koo said.
Global Rescue is the leading emergency rescue resource for mountaineers, climbers and those who love the mountains. The Global Rescue Mountain Advisory Council helps keep services at peak level. The Mountain Advisory Council is led by Viesturs, world-famous high-altitude climber Nirmal “Nims” Purja, outdoor adventure safety expert and longtime mountaineering author Jed Williamson, Global Rescue’s Koo and Stretch.
Additional Mountain Advisory Council members include:
- Wilderness and altitude sickness expert Dr. Eric Johnson is a Global Rescue associate medical director, past president of the Wilderness Medical Society and member of the Board of Directors of the Himalaya Rescue Association. Johnson is also one of the founders of Everest ER.
- Special operations and critical planning authority Scott Hume is Global Rescue’s vice president operations and the former Chief Operations Officer of the 3rd Brigade 25th Infantry Division.
- Former Navy SEAL and manager of Global Rescue Security Operations Harding Bush has extensive mountain and cold weather operations expertise. He has developed multiple training programs for ski mountaineering and cold weather survival. He is a graduate of several U.S. and NATO Mountaineering courses including the Slovenian Mountain Warfare School.
Stretch predicts that 2022 will be wide open on Mount Everest. “If 2021 is anything to go by, there won’t be any limitations on group size. Expect record permits distributed with no enforced rules. Climbers should go with expedition organizers who take COVID-19 precautions seriously,” he said.
Koo and his deployment team are taking it all in stride. “We are comfortable in Nepal. Our partners are super nice. It’s like a second home.”
Contact Bill McIntyre at email@example.com or 202.560.1195 (phone/text) for more information.
About Global Rescue
Global Rescue is the world’s leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services to enterprises, governments and individuals. Founded in 2004, Global Rescue has exclusive relationships with the Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine Division of Special Operations and Elite Medical Group. Global Rescue provides best-in-class services that identify, monitor and respond to client medical and security crises. Global Rescue has provided medical and security support to its clients, including Fortune 500 companies, governments and academic institutions, during every globally significant crisis of the last two decades. For more information, visit www.globalrescue.com.