Rakaposhi. Our objective was to climb the 10-mile-long difficult southwest ridge of Rakaposhi, previously climbed only by Mike Banks and Tom Patey in 1958. Poles and Japanese had also reached the summit in 1979 but by different routes. On July 2 we reached Gilgit and proceeded by tractor to Jaglot, where we recruited 96 porters. We reached Base Camp at 13,950 feet on July 7. We established Camp I on July 10 at 17,050 feet above a dangerous couloir. The route to Camp II had slopes with windslabs and then a long corniced ridge. Camp II was set up on July 17 at 18,700 feet. To reach Camp III we had to climb a gendarme, a 19,700-foot peak on the ridge, descend to 18,375 feet and climb back to camp at 19,000 feet (July 22). Doubtless the Monk’s Head slope was the greatest difficulty on the route. Camp IV was placed on July 24 at 21,000 feet, Camp V on July 30 at 22,950 feet above a long, crevassed slope and Camp V on August 1 on the summit plateau at 24,275 feet. On August 2 Bertrand Borrey, Daniel Bogaert, Arthur Delobbe and porter Sultan Ullah Baig climbed the ridge to the summit (7788 meters, 25,552 feet). While descending, the climbers started an avalanche which swept away one of the climbers of the second assault party, Michel Bodard. He fell 650 feet and suffered a broken leg and thumb, a punctured lung, a concussion and multiple contusions. He was carried to Camp IV and two days later was picked up by helicopter at 20,150 feet. On August 5 the high-altitude porter Sultan Ullah Baig insisted against advice on descending alone to join the others and give his countrymen the good news. He disappeared between Camps II and I. The body was never found despite five days’ search. We fixed 6500 feet of rope: in the couloir below Camp I; on the avalanche slopes between Camps I and II; on the gendarme; and on the Monk’s Head. The other members were Daniel Berriaux, Marcel Charlier, Elie Hanoteau, Jean-Claude Legros, Genevieve Perikel, Dr. Claire Duchesne and I as leader.
Jacques Collaer, Club Alpin Beige