American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Hidden Peak, Alpine-Style

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

Hidden Peak, Alpine-Style. After three years of trying, Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler finally were granted permission to climb an 8000-meter peak alpine-style. They were allowed to attempt Hidden Peak (26,470 feet) by its northwest face. With twelve porters and a liaison officer they left Skardu on July 13 and reached Base Camp at 16,750 feet at the foot of Hidden Peak twelve days later. In the last days of July they climbed through two icefalls to the glacier between Gasherbrum II and Hidden Peak (Gasherbrum I). After a night at 19,350 feet they returned to Base Camp. They made a second reconnaissance, carrying supplies to be used on the final climb. They returned to their previous campsite and the next day climbed to 22,000 feet. The face was steeper than they had expected, much of it 60° bare ice but soft enough to provide good front-pointing. They again descended to Base Camp. The weather seemed to be three days bad and three days good. On August 8 it seemed favorable and they returned to the 19,350-foot camp. On the 9th they picked up their supplies and climbed, unroped and unbelayed, the 4000-foot face. In the upper part the ice gave way in part to steep ice couloirs and iced rotten rock. This part of the climb was comparable to the north face of the Matterhorn. After eight hours of very difficult climbing, at two P.M., they reached the shoulder at 23,300 feet, where, exhausted, they pitched their bivouac tent. On August 10 the first hour was easier but the slope soon steepened. About noon they traversed left onto the ridge and finally stood on top at 12:30 after six hours of climbing. They descended that night to 23,300 feet and were back in Base Camp two days later.

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