Asia, Pakistan—Karakoram, K2

Publication Year: 1980.

K2. Italians Reinhold Messner, Friedl Mutschlechner, Renato Casa- rotto and Alessandro Gogna, German Michael Dacher and Austrian Robert Schauer made up a strong team that hoped to climb the well publicized “Magic Line” on K2. This route would have climbed to the Negrotto Saddle between K2 and the Angelus, ascended the south buttress to a point where it would traverse across the south face to meet the Abruzzi Ridge some 1000 feet below the summit. There were serious delays. The expedition waited three weeks for a flight to Skardu. On the approach the female doctor broke her leg and had to be carried back to Askole and helicoptered out. A porter was killed falling into a crevasse on the Savoia Glacier. After a brief reconnaissance, in view of the tight time-schedule, Messner decided instead to climb the Abruzzi Ridge. Despite the publicity of a “five-day victory, alpine style without high camps,” the preparations were in fact much more. On June 22 Messner, Dächer, Gogna and Casarotto moved from Base Camp at 16,250 feet to Camp I at 20,000 feet. The next two days they climbed House’s Chimney and carried loads to the site of Camp II at 21,925 feet before returning to Base Camp for a rest. On June 27 Schauer, Mutschlechner and two Balti porters carried to Camp I and the first two on the 28th to Camp II. Gogna and Casarotto were also active. On July 1 Gogna climbed 1000 feet above Camp II extracting from the ice or replacing Japanese fixed ropes. On July 4 Messner and Dacher climbed and fixed rope up to 24,000 feet, near the site of Camp III. The whole team had been active repairing or replacing the Japanese fixed ropes or placing new ones. This was therefore hardly the touted “alpine-style” ascent. After a rest at Base Camp, on July 8 Messner and Dacher moved to Camp I and in the next two days to Camps II and III. On July 11 they climbed to place and occupy a bivouac tent at 26,000 feet. On July 12 they reached the summit at 4:40, having used no oxygen.