American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat Range, Panmah Muztagh, Ogre II, Southeast Ridge, Attempt

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Ogre II, Southeast Ridge, Attempt. The team was supposed to be composed of Luca Maspes (leader), Maurizio Giordani, Mauro Girardi, Emanuele Pellizzari, Natale Villa and Maurizio Venzo. One week before leaving, our “leader” decided, for lack of motivation or out of selfdoubt, to stay home. The remaining five of us left for Pakistan. Maurzio Giordani, Mauro and I left Italy on June 4, arrived in Islamabad the following day and left on the 7th for Skardu with the permit issued by the Ministry of Tourism. In Skardu we found that our leader had sold our ropes for fixing last year to pay for his ticket home; he had forgotten to mention this minor action to us. We went crazy in Skardu trying to find some ropes that were suitable as fixed lines. The only thing we found were 6mm nylon lines that are usually used by farmers to make stacks of wood.

We arrived in Base Camp on July 12. The following day we did an acclimatization trip to 4800 meters and the day after reached 5100 meters, where we established Camp I. The southeast ridge of Ogre III (a.k.a. the west summit of Ogre II, 6960m) that we planned to climb was in reality not a ridge but a serious, major pillar interrupted by some huge ledges.

Camp I, in a very highly crevassed area, was in a relatively safe position. From CI we looked at the only safe line that we could climb and we took the obvious gully on the left. This, while relatively straightforward, was much longer than expected, and sometimes dangerous. The gully is about 900 meters long with sections of 80 to 85 degrees. We fixed it with our “wood ropes” all the way to the top. Three of us carried all the gear to CII (ca. 6100m), spent the night, and returned to BC.

Bad weather trapped us at BC for three days. Mauro Girardi and I, with Maurizio Giordani and Maurizio Venzo following us the next day, departed once more for CII. We planned to fix some ropes in the very avalanche-prone snow plateau and then bivouac high (or return to CII) and do an alpine-style attempt to the summit as a team of four. (Natale Villa had already had two very close calls in the lower part of the glacier and called his expedition off before reaching 6000 meters.)

The day of the first attempt of the peak, Mauro and I tried to overcome the higher part of the snow plateau to get to the rocky pillar. After four hours of struggling (to climb 85 meters), we rappelled to CII to rest. We found very inconsistent snow that proved to be almost insurmountable in such conditions.

At this point we had only seven days to go before leaving base camp. We waited for the two Maurizios to join us and then decided to bring all gear down to base camp and look for easier targets. In the event, the weather deteriorated badly from then on, and even if we had wanted to, we wouldn’t have had another chance to try for the summit.

The last five days, during bad weather, Mauro Giradri and I tried to open a new line on the Ogre Thumb. The first day we climbed three pitches and were stopped by snowfall. The second day we added two more, were again stopped by snowfall, and decided to clean the line.

We cleaned all our fixed lines. We left nothing on the mountain, and brought down about 75 kilos of other parties’ rubbish. (Some of this rubbish, including a snow shovel, is now on display at the Mountain Museum of Ragni di Lecco.) Considering that very few people have been there, we found the lower part of the glacier to be very dirty. We carried all our rubbish down to Skardu (not to Askoli, as usual) after having burned what we could.

Emanuele Pellizzari, Italy

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