Update: After we published this story and a video on the same, a reader of ours, Bansi Haria Shah tagged her brother, Utsav Haria feeling that this story closely resembled her brother’s life. Her brother quickly confirmed that it was him who was rescued that day on Stok Kangri. We reached out to Utsav to get his side of the story, and it turns out that Bidhan had gotten his name wrong. We are happy to share that the two have gotten in touch. We would like to thank our readers for helping reunite the two.
On July 8, 2016, Bidhan Shrestha, a 19-year-old engineering student of Nepali origin studying in Bengaluru, went on an expedition to Stok Kangri in Ladakh, a mountain on the Stok Range of the Himalayas measuring 6153 meters. It is a climb hundreds of trekkers, mountaineers, and tourists have done before, but this was one special.
Bidhan’s journey from the base camp commenced at 4:30 a.m., and with the weather on his side, everything was seemingly going according to plan. However, just a few hundred meters before the summit, he saw a fellow climber falling 15-20 meters off a cliff.
“Without the binoculars, I would have probably never seen Udesh fall. I managed to spot him and rushed to his aid. His forehead was cut and bleeding badly, but he was fortunate enough not to have suffered any major fractures. His head had probably hit a rock. There were cuts on his eyebrows, lips, hands and the legs as well,” claimed Bidhan, speaking to The Better India.
Udesh was on his way down to the base camp when he fell.
Bidhan was carrying a fully-equipped first aid kit with him, and allegedly took out pretty much everything he had to stop the bleeding. He even cut Udesh’s hair a little bit to clean the wound and cover it with a bandage.
The duo was perched at an altitude of approximately 5,800 meters, and there was no one in sight, but Bidhan shouted out for help. Fortunately, one local guide managed to hear Bidhan’s pleas and rushed to spot. Once the local guide was appraised of the situation, he went down seeking a rescue team, claims Bidhan.
According to Bidhan, both him and Udesh spent nearly four hours waiting for the rescue team to arrive. In the meantime, Bidhan constantly rubbed Udesh’s back and even sang a host of Nepali ballads to keep his mind off the excruciating pain.
“I was singing most of the time to ease his pain and constantly rubbing his back to keep him warm. It was like this till rescue team arrived, following which, he was rescued and safely taken to the base camp,” Bidhan told The Better India.
Once the rescue team arrived, Bidhan decided to scale the summit, even though it was past noon. “Despite my exhaustion, I only had a few hundred meters to climb. I had to scale the summit,” Bidhan tells The Better India.
After reaching the summit by 2:30 p.m., Bidhan spent a few minutes before making the descent. He finally returned to the base camp by 6:30 p.m.
“Udesh, meanwhile, didn’t suffer any fractures, so his situation wasn’t very critical. He could stand the next morning but not walk properly. We got separated at the base camp, so I don’t know what happened to him after that. We did exchange a few messages, and Udesh said he was doing fine,” says Bidhan.
However, since they parted ways at base camp, Bidhan hasn’t been able to track Udesh even on social media. Hopefully, this story will help him reconnect with Bidhan—the man who saved his life on that icy cold morning of July 8, 2016.
Watch the footage of this entire incident in Ladakh below.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)