American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum II Attempt and Posible Altitude

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1994

Masherbrum II Attempt and Possible Altitude. In 1988, an Italian expedition led by Augusto Zanotti made the first ascent of the most westerly of the Masherbrum group. They called it “Masherbrum Far West” and gave it an altitude of 7200 meters. (See AAJ, 1989, page 250.) In 1991, a British commercial expedition put 14 clients onto the summit of what they called Masherbrum II, stating that they were following the Italian route on the southeast ridge. (See AAJ, 1992, 245-7.) Another British expedition attempting the main peak of Masherbrum at the same time took photographs and disputed the 7200-meter height for Masherbrum II, claiming it might be more than 500 meters lower. Our expedition was aware of the discrepancy and we checked altitudes carefully with three altimeters. It is apparent that the Italians claimed heights for Base Camp and Camp I that were 500 meters too high. If this height error is extrapolated, the summit is likely to be about 6600 meters. This would seem to confirm the photographic evidence of the 1991 party on the main peak of Masherbrum. During July and August, our five-man team, Noel Clarke, Dermot Fleming, Shay Nolan, Kevin Yallup and I, attempted to climb Masherbrum II from the Hushe valley by the Italian route. After setting up Camp I on a narrow col at 4900 meters, we left gear near the site of Camp II on the plateau below the summit pyramid. We waited a frustrating ten days at Camp I for the weather to clear and then had to abandon the attempt.

Michael Keyes, Irish Alpine Association

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