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Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat South Summit, East Buttress

Nanga Parbat South Summit, East Buttress. The east buttress, which rises from the upper Bazhin Glacier, had long attracted my attention since I had first reconnoitered the Rupal Face with Toni Kinshofer in 1963. We got to Base Camp on the left moraine of the Bazhin Glacier on July 8. We were Schorsch Ritter, Valentin Demmel, Hartmut Münchenbach, Doris Kunstermann, Dr. Joaquin Zietz and me, Germans; Andrzej Bielun and Tadeusz Piotrowski, Poles; and Ueli Bühler, Swiss. We chose the right side of the buttress, which faces the Bazhin Glacier. We had reconnoitered the left side in 1975 and found it threatened by avalanches. Yannick Seigneur had been shortly before us on the middle of the buttress and had reached 23,000 feet. Our route rose from the Bazhin Glacier at 12,500 feet in a bold line to the south summit. It first climbed a rock spur which protected us from ice avalanches on the way to Camp I at 15,100 feet. The camp was at the foot of a 6500-foot-long couloir, which we climbed on the left side. Camp II was halfway up at 16,750 feet in the only possible spot. The exit from the couloir was 70° and threatened by rockfall, and so our Hunza porters carried only once to Camp III at 19,350 feet on the central icefield above the couloir. This was the first camp not subject to falling rock and ice. It was there that we joined the route attempted by Seigneur. On July 31 Ritter and Bühler first climbed the 65° ice face above. On August 9 Camp IV was set up at 21,325 feet among séracs. On August 14 Ritter, supported by Piotrowski, climbed the “First Icefield” on the right side of which Camp IV was pitched at 23,950 feet. The next day they ascended the “Second Icefield” and crossed a small rock band to the “Third Icefield,” which led to the south col. They were forced back by deep powder snow. That same day Münchenbach and Bühler climbed to Camp V. The four spent a crowded night in one tent. On August 16 the four set off. A nearly vertical 150-foot section took over an hour to lead. The warm sun had melted the snow so that they were soaked and did not dare to bivouac. All but Bühler descended to Camp V. Though the others expected him to follow them down, Bühler kept on without adequate bivouac gear to spend the night out below the south col in frigid weather. On August 17, around noon, Bühler reached the south summit (8042 meters, 26,384 feet), the top of the east buttress. He got back at six P.M. with seriously frozen hands and feet to Camp V, where Ritter and Piotrowski were waiting for him.

Karl Maria Herrligkoffer, Deutsches Institut für Auslandsforschung