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Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum Attempt

Masherbrum Attempt. Our team members were Mark Miller, Nigel Hillman, Bruce Hubbard, Stuart Bygrave, Adrian Bake, Mike Cross, Graham Hulme, Ewen Todd, Colin Jamieson, Keven Murphy, Alec Erskine and I as leader. We had hoped to climb Masherbrum (7821 meters, 25,660 feet) by its unclimbed east ridge. We established Base Camp on July 18 on the west side of the Masherbrum Glacier, two-days’ walk from Hushe. The route surmounted three icefalls, each about 1000 feet high, before crossing a plateau at 18,000 feet and ascending windslab slopes to a snow dome at 20,000 feet, a 1-1/2-mile-wide snowfield where the separate peaks of Masherbrum East and the main peak rise. We placed Camp I at 16,800 feet on July 21 at the base of the third icefall. Camp II, reached on July 26, was just above the plateau on a ridge below the slopes leading to the snow dome. Camp III was established on July 28 on the edge of the snow dome. On August 4, we finally set Camp IV at 21,600 feet just below the southeast face of Masherbrum proper. Hillman, Miller, Jamieson, Murphy and I attempted to climb the steep south face of Masherbrum East on August 12 but were forced down by a thunderstorm after reaching 22,000 feet. After a period of bad weather at Base Camp, there were two more attempts, but continuous snowfall prevented our getting further than Camp IV, which, on the final attempt, was completely buried and could not be found.

Ginette Harrison, M.D., British Mountaineering Council