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Asia, Pakistan, Gasherbrum II

Gasherbrum II. An American expedition was jointly guided by Roger Gocking and Thor Kieser. In unstable weather, the top was reached by 12 of the 20 members. These were Gocking, Kieser and Clay Landon on July 21; Charles Mace, Robert Broshears and Scot Alan McPherson on July 22; Larry Hall and Poles Piotr Snopczynski and I on July 28; George Fuller and Connor Haugh on July 29; and Tony Tonsing on July 31. After a night at Camp I at 6000 meters, my group was trapped for four days in Camp III at 6900 meters and a further two days in Camp IV at 7400 meters. When the skies cleared, we reached the top. Strong military units remain high in the mountains. The military camps are supplied by caravans of horses, mules and donkeys, which, along with the numerous expeditions, are degregating the natural milieu of the mountains. A striking example is Payu, a few years ago a green oasis with trees, shrubbery and grass slopes. It is now a deplorable desert with stubs of trees devastated by fire. Along the Baltoro valley runs a telephone line and a broad track of litter, excrement, packages, cans, stinking horse cadavers. Added to this picture are groups of soldiers with helicopters hovering over the valley, making a depressing view of what was one of the world’s most impressive landscapes. Neither the Pakistani Army nor the expeditions seem to make efforts to remove trash from this unique valley.

Aleksander Lwow, Poland