American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing
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Asia, Pakistan, P 6931 and P 6572, Batura Glacier

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1987

P 6931 and P 6572, Batura Glacier. [P 6931 lies at the head of the Batura Glacier four kilometers northeast of Kampire Dior. The Italians give it an altitude of 7016 meters, derived from a Chinese glaciological survey, but the official altitude is 6931 meters or 22,740 feet—Editor. ] Our 14-man expedition of which I was the leader began the long approach march from Passu with 178 porters on July 3. We got over the first part of a tedious icefall on the Batura Glacier on July 10 and placed Base Camp there at 4450 meters. Without wasting time, we began to reconnoiter the south side of P 6931. On July 11 we set up Camp I at 4950 meters beyond a second icefall. After a snowfall, Camp II was set up on July 15 at 5400 meters above a third icefall, which was bypassed on the right. This was at the foot of the south face. Domenico Alessandri, Antonio Tansella, Fernando Di Fabrizio and Lucio De Sanctis on July 17 moved up the face to establish Camp IIIa. Alessandri and Tansella got to 6100 meters and descended to 5900 meters to camp, but bad weather put an end to the attempt. A second try started on July 27. Alessandri, Antonio Capassi and Domenico Mancinelli set out from Camp II on July 29, climbing up the south face toward the west ridge. The snow began to get soft, the slope steepened and there were sections of blue ice covered with loose snow. They gained the ridge at 6500 meters but found the knife-edged ridge badly corniced and with rock towers and bare ice. They gave up only 400 meters from the summit. Tansella and Giulio Sampietro decided to take a quick look at the north side of the mountain. Carrying a light camp, they bypassed the fourth icefall by climbing a steep couloir on the foot of the west ridge and placed Camp IIIb on the glacier at 6000 meters northwest of the summit. On August 1 they crossed the glacier in a northerly direction and climbed to a 6150-meter col in the ridge which runs west from the north ridge of P 6931 and then rises beyond the col to a beautiful snow peak of 6572 meters (21,561 feet). The two climbers continued up the snow-and-ice east ridge of P 6572, overcoming some 65° pitches and were on top at 10:45 A.M. Informed by radio, Capassi, Mancinelli and Alessandri left Base Camp and bivouacked halfway up the fourth icefall and climbed to Camp IIIb the next day. On August 3, these three plus Tansella set out. At 7:30 they reached the crest of the north ridge, overcoming bare ice, unconsolidated snow and mixed terrain with some 60° pitches. After a halt at a 6700-meter col, they continued along the long ridge and got to the summit of P 6931 at 10:30 A.M. They left the top at one o’clock. At four o’clock at 6600 meters a huge mass of rock broke off 40 meters above them. Mancinelli was struck and his left femur was broken. Luckily he was well anchored. Unable to establish radio contact with Base Camp, Tansella descended to Camp II. Alessandri and Capassi immobilized Mancinelli’s leg as best they could and evacuated him to 6300 meters, where they had to bivouac. With heroic efforts by all members, Mancinelli was evacuated to 5500 meters, where he was picked up by helicopter. [This account had to be somewhat condensed.]

Luigi Barbuscia, Club Alpino Italiano

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