American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan—Karakoram, Gasherbrum II, Chilean Expedition

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

Gasherbrum II, Chilean Expedition. Our expedition consisted of Jorge Bassa, Claudio Gálvez, Rubén Lamilla, Claudio Lucero, Nelson Muñoz, Jorge Quinteros, Iván Vigouroux, Leonardo Zúñiga and me as leader. It took us two weeks to complete formalities in Islamabad. In Skardu we contracted 130 porters and left on April 27 for Base Camp. The approach march lasted 23 days, the Baltoro Glacier being completely covered with snow. Base Camp was set up May 23 on the Abruzzi Glacier at 16,900 feet. The porters returned from there. It was a task to find a safe and rapid route past the enormous crevasses and séracs of the South Gasherbrum Glacier. For eight days we worked up the glacier with camps at 18,000, 19,000 and 20,000 feet. We divided into two groups with Bassa, Zúñiga and Quinteros supplying the lower three camps, while the rest worked up the spur climbed by the Austrians in the first ascent in 1956. In the first week of June we climbed very steep snow and ice and set up three camps. Muñoz and Gálvez returned to Base Camp from 22,650 feet after much of the technical climbing had been done. Lamilla, Lucero, Vigouroux and I placed a high camp at 23,625 feet on June 7, from which we planned a lightning attack. Carrying little, on the 8th we advanced only to 24,950 feet, slowed by climbing difficulties and our exhaustion. The bivouac was fairly good but the night was long and cold. On the morning of June 9 we set out in clear cold weather. At 25,600 feet Vigouroux had to give up from fatigue and returned to Camp VI with Lamilla. Lucero and I pressed on and reached the summit (26,362 feet), exhausted, at six P.M. We knew we had to get back to Camp VI, which we reached under a luminous moon at midnight.

Gastón Oyarzún, Federación de Andinismo de Chile

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