American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Potomac Appalachian Trail Club

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  • Publication Year: 1988

K2 Attempt and Tragedy. Our joint expedition was led by Japanese Kenshiro Otaki with Pakistani Sher Khan as deputy. Other members were Japanese Takeo Ishiwatari, Akiro Suzuki, Kaoru Nagaota, Fumihide Saito, Tetuei Hanzawa, Akihiko Sugawara, Hiroshi Kawasaki, Touru Kurusawa and I as doctor, and Pakistanis Ikram, Rahat Ali and Tufail Ibrahim. We hoped to climb the Abruzzi Ridge. We established Base Camp, Advance Base and Camps I, II, III, and IV at 5200, 5500, 6300, 6900, 7500 and 7900 meters on July 1, 2, 3, 19, August 1 and 22. At the start we maintained a good pace until July 10, but after that the weather was bad for a month. By the end of August four of the six expeditions to K2 had left. During the ascent, some members found the body of Dobroslawa Miodowicz-Wol, the Polish woman who had disappeared during the descent in August 1986. She was on a ledge at the end of a fixed rope section, apparently having died of exhaustion. On August 21, the weather seemed better and so five members left Base Camp on a summit try. Suguwara and Kawasaki left Camp IV on August 23 but they suffered from deep snow and at 8300 meters returned to Camp III. The next day, Suzuki, Sher Khan and Saito also left Camp IV, but at two P.M. it was snowing so heavily that they turned back. Only two got back to Camp IV. No one saw Suzuki fall, but after an eleven-day search, we found him dead at 5300 meters on the south face. He apparently slipped from 8200 meters. We left Base Camp on September 9.

Takehiko Yokomizo, M.D., Toyo University, Japan

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