American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II Ascent and Tragedy

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

Gasherbrum II Ascent and Tragedy. There were a number of ascents of Gasherbrum II. An American group climbed the standard route. On June 28, Malachi Miller, leader, Phil Powers and Michael Collins were among those who reached the summit. That same day Germans Sigi Hupfauer and his wife Gabi climbed to the top of their second 8000er together. (They had climbed Broad Peak in 1986.) On July 10, Michael Dacher and Dr. Ulrich Schmidt got to the summit. This was Dacher’s tenth 8000er and Sigi Hupfauer’s sixth. These Germans were part of an expedition led by Hans Henning Seym. Members of a combined British-New Zealand-Swiss expedition led by Englishman Roger Payne managed to reach the summit on the same dates as the German team. On June 28, Englishman Richard Thorne and Swiss Jean-Pierre Hefti got to the top with the previously mentioned climbers. The next day, while descending on skis, Hefti deviated from the route and fell to his death from 6700 meters. A second group, Scots Iain Peters and Donald Stewart and New Zealander Guy Halliburton, also reached the summit on July 10. Payne and his New Zealander wife, Julie Ann Clyma, got to 7500 meters before they were forced to give up when Payne fell ill. Luxembourger Eugène Berger (leader) and Italians Sergio Martini, Fausto De Stefani and Maurizio Giordani of a five-person expedition completed the ascent on August 8. This was the fifth 8000er for both Martini and De Stefani. The leader’s fiancée, Pascale Noël, had reached 6600 meters on July 30 but was forced to withdraw because she was suffering from an edema. Six of the climbers of the New Zealand and Basque expeditions who had just given up on Hidden Peak decided to try an alpine-style ascent of Gasherbrum II. Having left Camp I on August 14, Brigitte Muir gave up at Camp II at 6400 meters while the others continued the ascent. On August 16, Basques Juan Oyarzábal and Atxo Apellániz, Australian Geoff Little, and New Zealanders Carol McDermott and Lydia Brady reached the summit. This was the second 8000er for the Basques. Brady is the first New Zealand woman to climb an 8000er. A large French group led by mountain guide Claude Jager abandoned its attempt on August 11 after reaching Camp III at 7000 meters. A Spanish team was reduced to three members when leader Manuel Amat fell ill and had to return, accompanied by one climber. Just before arriving at Base Camp, their 60-year-old liaison officer suffered a severe edema and had to be evacuated by helicopter. The three remaining climbers, Francisco Amat, Pascual Castillo and José-Luis Clavel, were the last group to leave the area. After a month of trying, they had to give up their attempt.

Xavier Eguskitza, Pyrenaica, Bilboa, Spain

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