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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum I Attempt and Tragedy

Gasherbrum I Attempt and Tragedy. Our international expedition had as members Americans Barbara Shelonzek, Errol Altay, German Gerhard Schnass, Italians Marco Bianchi, Paolo Bernascone, Giorgio Passino, Kurt Walde, Poles Mariusz Sprutta, Dr. Lech Korniszewski, Ryszard Warecki and me as leader. We set up Base Camp at the foot of the Gasherbrum peaks at 5100 meters on May 26. There was much winter snow and the weather was unstable with snowfall every day. Camps I and II were placed at 6000 and 6550 meters (Gasherbrum La) on May 29 and June 3. Following more or less the Messner route, we fixed rope and made a dump at 7000 meters. A summit attempt on June 26 reached 7200 meters. Due to dangerous conditions, further attempts were given up. On May 30, tragically just below Camp I a snowslab struck two descending Italians. The fixed rope broke and they were swept away. Kurt Walde survived while Paolo Bernascone was killed instantly. The region has terrible environmental problems. In the Base Camp lie hundreds of tins, bottles and containers, but a cleaning operation would be easy. The worst situation is on the Baltoro Glacier, where the litter increases year by year. About 90% of the rubbish is produced by the Pakistani military, who camp up to 6000 meters. Heaps of rusty tins and other garbage lie all around their campsites.

Krzysztof Wielicki, Klub Wysokogórski Katowice, Poland