American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, K2, Second Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1978

K2, Second Ascent. Thanks to previous expeditions, such as the Americans’ and Italians’, we were able to make the second ascent of K2 and we climbed on the strong shoulders of those predecessors. Also Dr. Charles Houston, Robert Bates, Fritz Wiessner and Adams Carter gave me much useful information. We sent two reconnaissance parties; in 1975 to find the most suitable route and in 1976 to reconnoiter the repeatedly tried southeast ridge. Our 1977 expedition, under the aupices of the Japanese Mountaineering Association, consisted of 52 members, including me (73 years) as General Leader and Isao Shinkai as Leader. Ten were TV and movie cameramen. We invited three of the Alpine Club of Pakistan. Major Kamal Afzal Khan was our liaison officer and he prevented all porter problems. On May 26 we left Skardu with 15 tractors and 20 jeeps for Bahar. Our loads weighed 25 tons. Here we divided into three parties. These left on May 29, 31 and June 2 and reached Base Camp on June 11, 15 and 16 respectively. The oxygen came in later and arrived at Base Camp on June 21. We had 260 Japanese and eight French bottles. Camps were established as follows: I at 18,150 feet on June 19, II at 20,200 feet on June 22, III at 22,475 feet on July 1, IV at 24,475 feet on July 12, V at 26,000 feet on July 25 and VI at 26,675 feet on August 3. The first summit attempt on August 4 from Camp VI was driven back at 27,225 feet by a violent storm. On August 8 Shoji Nakamura and Takeyoshi Takatsuka left Camp VI at five A.M., followed 30 minutes later by Tsuneo Shigehiro. The snow slope from Camp VI to the couloir above at 27,000 feet was about 50°. They traversed left in deep snow under a huge threatening hanging glacier. There were fixed ropes to this point. They had a little easier going and then fixed the last 130-foot rope up to 28,000 feet. At 28,050 feet Nakamura broke a snow bridge and fell 20 feet into a crevasse but the other two managed to get him out in an hour. They continued on and reached the summit at 6:50 P.M. Groping in the black night, they got back to Camp VI at 11:30 P.M. and Camp V at 12:15 A.M. Oxygen lasted until they were back at Camp VI because they used it only at two liters a minute. On August 9 Mitsuo Hiroshima, Masahide Onodera, Hideo Yamamoto and Pakistani Ashraf Aman left Camp VI at 5:15 A.M. and following the fixed ropes, got to the top at 2:15 P.M. A third party was in Camp VI but on August 10 the weather changed and they were instructed by radio from Base Camp to abandon the attempt. Base Camp was evacuated on August 22.

Ichiro Yoshizawa, A.A.C. and Japanese Alpine Club

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