|Tamar Ariel A"H|
An Israeli backpacker that survived a snowstorm on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal almost a week ago recalls the loss of three Israeli hikers and their fight to survive.
Eitan Idan was one of the Israeli survivors of the storm, which took the lives of Nadav Shoham, Tamar Ariel, Agam Luria and Michal Cherkasky, reports the Times of Israel ().
Idan said Ariel, 25, and the first female Orthodox combat navigator in the Israeli Air Force, was exhausted by helping other hikers and reached the point where she could not walk. Shoham helped Ariel by picking her up as she fell over and over again into the snow.
“I remember that Nadav didn’t stop; he kept on catching her. She fell, and he caught her, and she fell, and I’m helping him from the front, and you reach a point where you closely follow the person clearing the snow from the path so as not to waste your own strength clearing it,” said Idan.
The group of Israeli hikers were following a French group of backpackers who had a GPS unit, however, because of Ariel’s exhaustion, they were not able to keep up with them and soon lost site of the group.
Idan said he made the decision to leave Ariel because he knew they wouldn’t be able to continue with her. In that moment, Idan said, “it was clear to me that if we stay, we die.”
He recalled Ariel’s strength in trying to keep moving forward even through severe exhaustion.
“The whole time it was difficult for her, and she fought and even pressed on,” he said, “far more than any other person would have continued, which revealed her strength.”
Idan and another hiker, Shani, made it through the night, but Shoham had frozen to death overnight.
Approximately 40 people hikers, including those from Canada, India, Israel, Slovakia, Poland and Japan, died in the blizzards in the Himalayas last week. Nepalese officials rescued 407 people total, 226 of them foreigners.
Information taken from Times of Israel