'I can still smell the blood': Friend recounts harrowing rescue of Scottish climber in Pakistan

Ally Swinton bled heavily from a head wound ahead of his rescue
Ally Swinton bled heavily from a head wound ahead of his rescue
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The man who saved a Scottish climber in Pakistan has described still being able to "smell the blood" from the harrowing ordeal.

Tom Livingstone, 28, was on hand to help save Scot Ally Swinton after the climber from Fife fell into a crevasse.

The climbing party in full: Will Sim, Ally Swinton, Uisdean Hawthorn, John Crook and Tom Livingstone

The climbing party in full: Will Sim, Ally Swinton, Uisdean Hawthorn, John Crook and Tom Livingstone

A mistake with his footing led to 30-year-old Ally, from Leven, falling about 20m and suffering a number of injuries while traversing Koyo Zum in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

READ MORE: Two Scottish men among five climbers rescued from Pakistani peak

The duo had initially been part of a group of five experienced climbers, but the party has split up seven days earlier to tackle the challenging mountain from different sides.

Koyo Zom is the highest peak in the Hindu Raj mountain range in Pakistan at 6,872m.

Tom and Ally had reached a height of 5,486m together when the fall occurred.

Tom told the BBC: "I did what anyone would do and cared for him as I'm sure he would for me.

"He was covered in blood from a head wound.

"I sliced open his trousers to check his leg pain, hoping my fingers wouldn't meet a sharp bone and soft, wet flesh. Thankfully the leg was only badly bruised."

READ MORE: Climbers led by missing Scottish guide 'all presumed dead'

Tom said he recognised they were in a remote region of Pakistan and the only photo he had seen of their planned descent looked like a "gnarly, long glacier".

He said: "I knew Ally needed more medical attention than our single bandage could provide. After a few minutes of thought, I pressed the SOS button on our satellite communicator."

Tom said he became worried for Ally as they waited for the helicopter rescue as his friend appearing very faint and unresponsive.

He admitted: "For a time, I was genuinely concerned he might die in the night.

"It was quite an experience to spoon Ally, covered in blood, throughout the night. I can still smell the blood.

"I listened to his breathing, already irregular from the altitude, and when his breath paused for seconds... and seconds... and I'd give him a nudge, my own breath held for his next inhale."

Two British climbers from the party had been airlifted to safety by an army helicopter whilst their three climbing partners and the guide were left trapped. As the night fell and poor weather set in, the attempt to get the others, including Ally, off the mountain was halted.

Amongst the climbers who awaited rescue was Uisdean Robertson Hawthorn from the North-Western Highlands.