American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I Ascent and Tragedy

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

Gasherbrum I Ascent and Tragedy. Our expedition, composed of four Japanese, Russian Igor Kurkov, Nepali Tsindi Dorje Sherpa and Austrians Gerhard Frossmann and me, was led by Dr. Makoto Hara. When we got to Base Camp in July, we discovered that the route we had hoped to climb on Gasherbrum I (Hidden Peak) was off-bounds for us because of the idiotic war between India and Pakistan. Frossmann and I started up a new route on the right side of the south face, despite its being both difficult and objectively dangerous. We ascended some 1000 meters and were at 6500 meters with about 150 meters of difficult terrain badly threatened by falling ice before it appeared that easier ground led to the summit. We would have had to traverse 70° ice that was covered with very deep powder snow. It was too risky to keep on. We bivouacked in a crevasse and descended. A 14-day period of continual snowfall followed. The whole expedition then turned to the normal route. We spent three days on a very broken glacier to get to the foot of the route. I gave up counting how many times someone fell into a crevasse. We climbed to a 6400-meter col above which 50° to 65° slopes led to a rock band at 7000 meters, where we fixed rope. At that point, we had a falling out with the Japanese when they ordered us to go back for more rope. We descended and quit the expedition. Haruyuki Endo, his wife Yuka and Tsindi Dorje Sherpa continued on and climbed to the summit. On the descent, the young Nepali got separated from the Japanese couple. He must have fallen, but they were too tired to be able to search for him.

Michael Leuprecht, Österreichischer Alpenverein

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