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

Asia, Pakistan, K2 Ascent and Tragedy

K2 Ascent and Tragedy. In order to acclimatize our members before attempting K2, we established a training camp near Nanga Parbat from May 18 to June 10. On June 6, ten of our thirteen members reached the summit of Rakhiot Peak (7074 meters, 23,208 feet). Then from Skardu and Askole we approached our K2 Base Camp, established on June 23 at 4730 meters. We placed Advance Base, Camp II and III at 5200, 6700 and 7400 meters on June 25, June 26 and July 3 before coming down to Base Camp for a rest. On July 9, six members reached Camp IV at 7800 meters. From Camp IV, Alexsandr Pazkhomenko, Dmitry Iszagin-Zade, Alexei Khazaldin and Alexsandr Serpak hoped to climb K2 together. After watching the others climb toward the summit on July 9 and Rob Hall reach the top, on July 10 at two A.M. all four set off, but Serpak turned back at 8100 meters. They forgot to take the radio. At eight A.M., the weather went bad, preventing those in Camp IV from seeing them, except for one moment when they heard them and another when they observed the three approaching the summit. The weather that night became worse and it snowed even in Base Camp. Three more climbers went up to Camp IV to join the three already there in the hope of supporting the summit climbers, who had not returned. However, although they remained there for six days, the weather remained so bad that they could not venture out for fear of avalanches. On July 16, they returned to Base Camp. After a rest, we decided to investigate the tragedy further. On July 22, Matislav Gozbenko and Vladimir Terzeul reached Camp IV and on July 23 they reached the summit of K2 with five members of the German Amical expedition. On the way up, at 8400 meters, they found the frozen bodies of Pazkhomenko and Khazaldin. On the way down, the Germans discovered the leg of Iszagim-Zade stuck in the snow near the Bottleneck. From Base Camp, we had to return without our three friends.

Vadim Sviridenko, Odessa, Ukraine