AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, Pakistan, K2 Ascents, Attempts and Tragedy

K2 Ascents, Attempts and Tragedy. A large number of expeditions was active this year on K2. An expedition of Spanish Basques led by Juan Oiarzabal established Base Camp at 4950 meters at the foot of the mountain. They climbed the route pioneered by Tomo Cesen to the Shoulder. On June 6, they established Camp I at 6400 meters but bad weather ensued. They were back at Camp I on June 17 and established Camp II at 7100 meters the next day before descending to Base Camp. On June 21 Oiarzabal, the brothers Alberto and Félix Iñurrategui and Kike de Pablo, joined by Joan Tomás Gutiérrez from a Catalán expedition, climbed to Camp I and to Camp II on the 22nd. On June 23, they climbed to the Shoulder at 8000 meters to bivouac there. They reached the summit at three P.M. on June 24 after 13 hours of climbing, the first ever to complete the ascent to the summit via the Cesen route. The snow as far as the Bottleneck was perfect, but above there, it was knee-deep. The other member of the party, Josu Bereziartua, had to give up his attempt because of a health problem. A Spanish Catalán expedition led by Angel Rifá i Ros was unsuccessful, reaching a high point at Camp I. Poles Kurtyka, Wielicki and American Buhler unsuccessfully first attempted the mountain from the west and then via the Cesen route [See below.] Ukrainians led by Vadim Sviridenko met tragedy with the loss of three climbers. [See Below.] German Ralf Dujmovits led an international group on the Abruzzi Ridge. New Zealander Rob Hall reached the summit on July 9. [See below.] On July 23, Germans Dujmovits, Axel Schlönvogt, Michi Wärtl and Finn Veikka Gustafsson also reached the summit. [Also see below.] Another international group, conisting of Americans leader David Bridges and Steve Untch, Australian Michael Groom and Welshman Harry Taylor first planned to attempt the northwest face but then turned to the Cesen route. Their efforts are described briefly below. Untch fell to his death when a fixed rope broke as he was assisting Groom off the mountain, who had a leg injury and frostbite. An expedition of 14 Koreans led by Kim In-Tae established Camp III at 7350 meters but gave up there. They left Base Camp on July 29. 4 Japanese led by Hirofumi Konishi ran into bad luck. During the approach, the leader and one other had high fevers and had to return to Islamabad for medical checks. They returned, but were 23 days behind schedule. After establishing Camp II at 6880 meters, they got to 7200 meters, but decided to withdraw. They left Base Camp on July 31.7 Japanese led by Tadakiyo Sakahara were also active, despite rockfall problems. On August 14, Masafumi Todaka, Toshiyuki Katamura and Tomiyuki Kato reached 8360 meters, but they gave up there because of deep snow.