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Climber stranded on Himalayas' 'killer' ledge

Tomaz Humar, an experienced mountaineer who says on his website that the Himalayas are "fond" of him, took refuge on the icy ledge last Friday. Heavy snow and wind hampered rescue efforts yesterday as a Pakistani helicopter tried to make contact with Mr Humar, 5,900m up Nanga Parbat, the world's ninth- highest mountain.

But helicopters had been able to get close enough to the stranded climber "only to take a few photographs", said Nazir Sabir, Pakistan's top mountaineer and close friend of Mr Humar. He told the BBC: "Not only is Nanga Parbat the most dangerous mountain in the world, the route Humar was taking has never been scaled."

The climber's food is dwindling and his radio battery is weakening, Mr Sabir said. "Humar didn't take much food or other supplies with him because he wanted to climb as light as possible If we are lucky, he may still have enough survival rations to last him 72 more hours."

Mr Sabir is co-ordinating the mountain rescue attempt from base camp with climbers from Nazir Sabir Expeditions and the Pakistani army.

The fierce snowstorms which have been swirling around Nanga Parbat were expected to ease last night.