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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I, II and K2

Gasherbrum I, II and K2. We established Base Camp at the foot of the Gasherbrums on June 1. The weather was very unstable and there was much snow. We placed an Advance camp at 5900 meters between Gasherbrum I and II. On June 15 Benoît Chamoux and I arrived at the summit of Gasherbrum II, which we had climbed unroped from a bivouac at 7200 meters by the 1975 French route. This was both mixed and on ice with a maximum of 60°. We returned to our 5900-meter camp on June 20. Chamoux set off for the summit of Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) on the evening of the 21st and bivouacked at 7200 meters. I left just after midnight and caught up with Chamoux at 7500 meters. We got to the summit at three P.M. and I was back in camp at nine P.M., only 21 hours after leaving it. We had ascended through the Gasherbrum La and up the west ridge on snow and ice with a maximum of 70°. We descended a little more to the left. On June 24 I went to the K2 Base Camp and there joined a different French expedition. I rested for ten days and then set out on July 4 with Daniel Lacroix, Jean-François Manificat and Swiss Stéfane Schaffter for the Abruzzi Ridge on K2. Four of the Swiss expedition started at the same time in fine weather. We slept at 6800 meters. On July 5 we climbed to 7400 meters and rested there until nine P.M. when three of the Swiss, Erhard Loretan, Pierre Morand and Jean Troillet, and I left in the light of the full moon. At 1:30 P.M. on July 6, I completed the first French ascent of K2 with the Swiss. The next day Lacroix and Schaffter also reached the summit. They descended with Schaffter ahead. He saw Lacroix for the last time at 8400 meters. The latter never was seen again and must have been swept away by an avalanche at 8200 meters in a dangerous crossing of a sérac.

Eric Escoffier, Club Alpin Français