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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) Attempt

Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) Attempt. We began with the normal hassles with airlines, Pakistani bureaucrats and Balti porters. We were Ethan Van Matre, leader, Dave Bong, climbing leader, Susan Havens, Dave Schermer, Ed Holt, Don Beavon, Butch Suits, Bill Stevenson and I. Base Camp was set up at the confluence of the Abruzzi and the South Gasherbrum Glaciers in mid June. We spent several weeks moving loads through the lower icefall and establishing Camp I at 19,500 feet. At Camp I we realized that we had been hauling excess food up the mountain. No one had checked out the food before leaving the USA. We spent less than a week carrying supplies to establish Camp II just below the Gasherbrum La. The weather had been mostly favorable. Once at Camp II, we decided to try the German route on the north face, using the Japanese Couloir to gain access to the high camp. The conditions in the couloir were fair; a thin layer of snow covered shattered rock. We put in 1200 feet of fixed line with only a handful of anchors. I found it troubling that here we had a 40% excess of food but only a small assortment of climbing hardware. We hoped to establish Camp III and then go for the summit. Several of us carried loads to the top of the fixed lines. On that day, the weather took a turn for the worse. The next day, we all headed down to Base Camp to wait out the storm. Time was running out. Without consulting the team members, our leader had made arrangements for porters to arrive a month after we had arrived in Base Camp. Most expeditions plan to spend five or six weeks to climb Gasherbrum I. If the weather had held, this would not have been a problem. But the storm dumped much snow and made the route dangerous. We returned to Camp II on the Gasherbrum La and checked the couloir, but it was loaded with snow. We had no choice but to give up the climb.

Gary Bocarde