American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II, Ski Descent of South Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1986

Gasherbrum II, Ski Descent of South Face. After the other members of our expedition had to return to France, Pierre Mure-Ravaud and I reached the summit of Gasherbrum II on July 31 by the normal route. Also on the summit that day were members of another French and a Swedish expedition. There was fog on the summit. All the others descended. I waited on the top for the clouds to lift in order to photograph. An hour later I put on my skis and began the descent. I caught up to the others at the 7700-meter col. There Michel Metzger of the other French group put on the boots and skis left a couple of weeks before by Boivin. In the fog, he misjudged the slope, took a fall but was able to stop. I had intended to continue skiing down the south face to Base Camp that same day, but since my climbing companion Mure-Ravaud appeared indisposed, we bivouacked at Camp IV at 7500 meters. The next morning Mure-Ravaud descended with the Swedes. Since Metzger had not originally planned to ski down, he had not observed the route through a sérac barrier, as I had with binoculars from below. He waited for me. Once out on the broad slope, he skied down the left side and I on the right. Suddenly he hit a slick of ice. His skis fell off and he hurtled down the slope. Some 200 meters lower the slope lessened and he came to a stop. I skied to him and found him alive! From the foot of the face at 5900 meters, we regained Camp I at 5400 meters. The south face had never before been ascended or descended.

Tierry Renard, Club Alpin Français

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