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Asia, Chinese Karakoram, K2 Attempt

K2 Attempt. The object of our expedition was to open a new route on the northwest face of K2. After getting to the tongue of the K2 Glacier with 35 camels, we carried loads to Base Camp, which we established at 4950 meters on June 19. We were surprised to find the Anglo-American expedition there, with whom we discussed the common use of fixed ropes, which had already been placed up to 6200 meters. We had known the Spaniards would be there. We established Camps I and II at 5750 and 6500 meters. For the first part of the route to 6200 meters, we followed the “normal” route, first climbed by the Japanese. We then climbed to the right of that to a big crevasse, where we put Camp II. From there, we continued alpine-style without fixed ropes or camps. On July 28, Romano Benet, Nives Meroi (f), Filippo Sala and Gian Battista Galbiati headed up a diagonal ramp to bivouac at 7300 meters; they bivouacked the next night at 7600 meters. They were to be followed with a two-day interval by Fabio Agostinis and Manuel Lugli. A third bivouac was made by the leaders at 7900 meters. At dawn on July 31, Benet, Meroi and Sala set out in extreme cold and overcame great difficulties on 70° ice and hard rock. They reached 8400 meters, expecting to find a connection with the summit cone, but there seemed no feasible route from the north ridge onto the snowfield on the north face or onto the northwest face. They returned to bivouac at 8000 meters and descended to Base Camp the next day. In the few remaining days, we hoped to make the ascent via the normal route, but the rescue operation of the Spanish climbers took all our attention and we gave up hope for the ascent.

Arturo Bergamaschi, Club Alpino Italiano