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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II, Husband-and-Wife Ascent

Gasherbrum II, Husband-and-Wife Ascent. My wife Liliane, her brother Alain Bontemps and I reached the summit of Gasherbrum II on June 12. We were accompanied to Base Camp by Louis Thiberge, thus complying with the Pakistani regulation of having four members. We reached Base Camp at 16,250 feet in nine days on June 1. We followed the Austrian route on the mountain. From Base Camp, to reach the beginning of the southeast ridge at 19,500 feet, one must climb a contorted icefall to 17,725 feet and then ascend the upper part of the less crevassed and gentler glacier. We used cross-country skis on this part. At 19,700 feet one starts up a 55° to 60° snow slope and then follows a more moderate snow ridge to 21,650 feet. At 22,300 feet there are three sérac barriers. We had hoped to make a new variant by following straight up the whole southeast ridge from 23,950 feet, rather than by traversing right, but there was too much snow on mediocre rocks. We placed a camp at 19,500 feet on June 3 and 4 and by June 7 had reconnoitered to 21,650 feet. On June 9 we left Base Camp, bivouacking at 19,500, 21,650 and 23,950 feet. We got to the summit on the fourth day after leaving Base Camp. Liliane and I made two more attempts on the direct route. When we got to 21,650 feet on June 21, we found that ravens had destroyed the food we had left there. It also snowed a foot. From June 24 to 29 we two climbed to 24,600 feet but were stopped by deep snow and bad weather.

Maurice Barrard, Groupe de Haute Montagne