Karakorum 2008: Gasherbrum Traverse – 2 down, 1 to go!

concordia camp
I hit ExWeb earlier to start to get back up to speed with what’s happening in the world of mountaineering and came across this story with all kinds of news from the Karakorum.

The big news, which tops the article, is that Peter Hamor and Piotr Morawski have completed 2/3’s of their Gasherbrum traverse, having reached the summit on both GI and GII, with their sights firmly set on GIII next. They’ll have to wait their turn however, as the article notes that they are currently camped at 7400m while a blizzard rages on the mountain.

Meanwhile, the French Team has topped out on Broad Peak, which is their acclimatization climb before having a go at K2 in Alpine Style. After summitting over the weekend, the climbers are now said to be at 7000m and also waiting out bad weather. When the blizzard clears, they’ll descend rapidly and move over to K2 to begin the climb that they really came to do.

Speaking of K2, climbers on the Cesen route had their climb aborted due to the inclement weather over the weekend, but they managed to drop supplies at C4 before heading back down the mountain. Most of the teams are now back in BC, and planning their strategies. Some will join forces to make their final summit bids, once the weather window opens.

Rafael Merchan and his team arrived on Broad Peak over the weekend as well, fresh from their successful climb on Nanga Parbat. The other climbers have already begun their climb to C1, but Rafael was forced to stay in BC after taking a nasty fall on the hike into camp. He appears to be ok, but is resting and taking it easy for a bit.

Finally, Don Bowie and Bruce Normand are focusing on Distaghil Sar, one of Pakistan’s lesser known peaks. The 7885m mountain is the 19th tallest in the world, but only the 9th tallest in Pakistan! Bruce describes the upper portions of the mountain as “a maze of ice towers and water hewn crevasses” that’s going to take every ounce of their skill to successfully climb. In fact, it sounds like it only gets worse from there. It should be interesting to hear about their climb as they make their final summit bid, and it just goes to show that not all of the action is on the 8000m peaks.

Kraig Becker

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