Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum Attempt

Publication Year: 1981.

Masherbrum Attempt. Christine de Colombel and I took as our objective the beautiful west ridge of Masherbrum (7821 meters, 25,660 feet), hoping to climb it without high-altitude porters, oxygen or fixed camps. It was the first time that a woman has undertaken an expedition of this kind. After good weather in May and much of June, it deteriorated progressively. During July and the first two weeks of August there were only three spells of good weather, the longest lasting six days. It was said to be the worst weather in 25 years. We arrived on June 16 at Base Camp at 14,100 feet after a five-day approach. From June 17 to 25 we reconnoitered the west branch of the Masherbrum Glacier but decided that the approaches to the west ridge were objectively too dangerous. We turned to the American route. From July 1 to 5 we reconnoitered to 20,350 feet. After a period of bad weather when we carried loads and descended to Hushe for provisions, we made the first summit try on July 20 to 23 but were stopped by bad weather at 21,650 feet. The second attempt took place from August 1 to 11. On August 6 we placed a tent at 23,000 feet and broke trail to 23,625 feet. On the 8th much snow fell. That night our tent was carried down some meters in an avalanche. Christine de Colombel got badly bruised ribs. We descended to Base on August 9 to 11 with difficulty because of her condition in dangerous deep snow.

David Belden, Club Alpin Français