American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II and III

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

Gasherbrum II and III. To mark the International Women’s Year the Polish Ladies Expedition was organized under the leadership of Mrs. Wanda Rutkiewicz. For safety reasons, a men’s team was added to the expedition with separate objectives. The following took part: ladies’ team: Alicja Bednarz, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz, Anna Czerwinska, Halina Krüger-Syrokomska, Dr. Maria Mitkiewicz, Anna Okopinska, Krystyna Palmowska and Wanda Rutkiewicz; men’s team: Leszek Cichy, Marek Janas, Andrzej Lapinski, Janusz Onyszkiewiecz, deputy leader, Wladyslaw Wozniak, Marcin Zachariasiewicz, Krzysztof Zdzito- wiecki and Captain Saeed Ahmed Malik, Pakistani liaison officer. The caravan started from Baha on May 29 and Base Camp was reached by the last group on June 19. Camp I was established that same day at 19,700 feet, Camp II on July 4 at 21,325 feet and Camp III at 24,125 feet six days later. Up to this point the route was on snow and ice of 40° to 50° with a few places of 60° to 70°; it required 5250 feet of fixed rope. The weather was unstable. At the end of July the weather improved and a summit bid was launched. On August 1 the men, Cichy, Onyszkiewicz and Zdzitowiecki, climbed Gasherbrum II (26,360 feet), the third ascent by a new route, the northwest face. There were 1650 feet of difficult snow and ice climbing. The next ascent of Gasherbrum II was made on August 9 also by men, Janas, Lapinski and Wozniak. They ascended the Austrian first-ascent route, the east ridge. The first ascent of Gasherbrum III (26,090 feet) was made on August 11 by members of both parties. The route followed the line of a big couloir in the center of the east face. There was difficult mixed climbing and about 350 feet of rope was fixed on the rocky traverses to ease the descent. The summit was reached at six P.M. by Wanda Rutkiewicz, Onyszkiewicz and his English wife, Alison, and Zdzitowiecki. Since 1964 this had been the highest unclimbed peak in the world. The participation of two women is a record in women’s alpinism since women had not previously taken part in first ascents of peaks above 24,600 feet. The following day Halina Krüger Syrokomska and Anna Okopinska made the first female ascent of Gasherbrum II, repeating the Austrian route. They are the first European women to have climbed an 8000-meter peak. Theirs was also the first all-female climb of an 8000er, the Japanese on Makalu and Everest and the Chinese on Everest having been made in the company of men.

Polski Zwiazek Alpinizmu, Poland

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