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Asia, Pakistan, K2, Mexican-New Zealander-Swedish Attempt and Tragedy

K2, Mexican-New Zealander-Swedish Attempt and Tragedy. A ten-member international expedition was composed of Mexicans Ricardo Torres, leader, Héctor Ponce de León, Adrián Benítez and Berta Ramírez, New Zealanders Rob Hall, Gary Ball and Marty Schmidt and Swedes Johan Lagne, Oscar Kihlborg and Mickael Reuterswärd. Base Camp was occupied on June 28 and a long siege of the Abruzzi Ridge took place in cooperation with the Russian-American expedition. As a diversion from the main attack, Ponce de León and Lagne made a foray onto Broad Peak, reaching the foresummit on August 5. On August 13, Torres, Ponce de León, Benítez, Hall, Ball, Lagne and Kihlborg reached Camp IV at 8000 meters. On August 14, Torres and Benítez decided to descend because of deteriorating weather. Just below the shoulder, at 7775 meters, Benítez fell to his death when a ski pole they were using as a rappel anchor pulled out. On August 15, on hearing the news of the accident, Ponce de León, Lagne and Kihlborg gave up the attempt, leaving only Hall and Ball with the three Americans of the Russian-American expedition at Camp IV to make a summit attempt on August 16. While the Americans reached the summit, the two New Zealanders had to quit at the top of the Bottleneck at 8300 meters. Despite their using supplementary oxygen, Gary Ball had fallen ill as a result of pulmonary emboli. They withdrew to Camp IV where his condition became much worse. Rob Hall and the descending Americans managed in three days to bring him back to Base Camp, from where he was evacuated by Helicopter to Skardu. [More details are found in the full article above in this Journal.] During the course of the expedition, a human foot was found inside its sock and boot. The old type of crampon and the nailed boot suggest that the foot must have been that of Dudley Wolfe lost in 1939.

Xavier Eguskitza, Pyrenaica, Bilbao, Spain