American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I Ladies' Expedition and the Tragic Broad Peak Reconnaissance

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Gasherbrum I Ladies’ Expedition and the Tragic Broad Peak Reconnaissance. Poles Wanda Rutkiewicz and Ewa Pankiewicz completed the first “ladies-only” climb of Gasherbrum I, which had been climbed by three different women, in 1982, 1986 and 1989. They arrived at Base Camp on June 10 and prepared the route on the northwest face up a prominent couloir. The weather was good on only one or two days a week. The lack of snow cover made the route more difficult. They placed 120 meters of rope on a rock barrier of UIAA grade IV or V. Camps I, II and III were placed at 6000, 6300 and 7100 meters on June 12,18 and July 2. For the final assault, the pair set out from Base Camp on July 13. After a day of poor weather, they left Camp II on July 15 and Camp III on the 16th. They were followed by two members of a Korean expedition, who had hoped to climb a new line farther to the left. However, the Koreans ascended in their steps. The large amount of new snow on the upper part required tiresome trail-breaking. After nine hours, they reached the summit of Gasherbrum I. Meanwhile, one of the Koreans abandoned the climb while Park Hyeok-Sang joined the ladies on the top. They stayed only a short time because of rapidly worsening weather. Snowfall and lack of visibility complicated the descent and they experienced with the Korean an arduous bivouac at 7500 meters without food, drink or bivouac gear. Ewa Pankiewicz suffered slight frostbite. This was one of the few ascents of an 8000er by a single pair of women without any male support. It was the sixth 8000er for Wanda Rutkiewicz. Next on the rank list are five women from France, Belgium, Japan and Germany, with three summits each. After the successful ascent, Rutkiewicz moved to make a reconnaissance of the normal route on Broad Peak. The weather and snow conditions were bad this season. On July 24, she was climbing unroped with Pole Józef Gozdzik, followed by South Tirolean Christian Kuntner and German Dr. Kurt Lyncke-Krüger. At 5600 meters Dr. Lyncke-Krüger suddenly slipped on ice covered by a thin layer of snow and fell 400 meters to his death. On July 2, he had been with the international group led by Marek Grochowski and had climbed to within 20 meters of the top of Gasherbrum II.

JóSEF Nyka, Editor, Taternik, Poland

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