American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II

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

Gasherbrum II. Our expedition was composed of Mike Collins, Dan Heilig, Rob Hess, Phil Powers and me. We climbed Gasherbrum II by the normal southwest ridge. We left Dassu on May 11, but a very bad storm on the ninth day of the approach trapped us at Goro, some 30 miles from Base Camp. We had to dismiss our badly clad porters. Luckily we could rehire 19 porters from a returning Japanese expedition on May 29 and made it to Base Camp on May 31. We established Advance Base on June 7, but that night a huge avalanche plunged down from Gasherbrum I, two miles distant. The air blast flattened out tents and carried equipment away. We were unhurt, could patch a tent and retrieve much of the gear. We moved camp to a safer location. Camp I was set up at 5900 meters on June 13. We next had to carry loads up to the southwest ridge for Camp II at 6450 meters. Bad weather slowed us down and we established Camp II only on June 23. We placed Camp III at 7000 meters on June 27. All five of us set out for the summit at 5:15 on the morning of June 28. That day was one of the most difficult any of us had ever attempted. Every step required a conscious effort. At 7400 meters Hess and Collins were too tired to continue and turned back. Heilig, Powers and I struggled on. Between 2:00 and 2:30 we reached the summit. The next day we descended to Base Camp and were back in Skardu a week later.

Malachi Miller, National Outdoor Leadership School

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