American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) Attempts and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1988

Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) Attempts and Tragedy. A Pakistani Army expedition was high above the Gasherbrum La, following the Japanese couloir. Four members were trying to establish Camp III above 7000 meters when one of them became ill and another suffered frostbite. They all turned back on July 29, and while moving slowly through a dangerous section, there was a fall that triggered an avalanche in which they were all dragged down for about 500 meters. Rescue groups from the various expeditions on the spot failed to find any survivors. The attempt was abandoned. Three other expeditions joined together after this accident. After helping in the search for the missing Pakistanis, all three expeditions decided on the 1975 Messner line which starts up the face from below the Gasherbrum La and appeared safer. There was a mixed group from New Zealand led by Craig Strobo. A Basque team led by Juan Ignacio Lorente had had permission to attempt the French route on the south face but, in view of the difficulties, they switched to the north side of the mountain. A Japanese expedition organized by Masaki Matsumoto also had had permission for the south face but it was reduced by illness to only two members. Then Tamio Hitachi and another climber moved to the north side. Ropes were fixed from Camp II at 6500 meters up to 7000 meters, but the difficult conditions encountered forced them to turn back on August 13, first the Japanese pair, then from 7100 meters New Zealanders Steve Bruce and Hugh Van Noorden and the Basques. Members of the last two expeditions decided to attempt Gasherbrum II after descending to Camp I, which was common to both peaks. (See Gasherbrum II.)

Xavier Eguskitza, Pyrenaica, Bilbao, Spain

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