The summer climbing season is all but over in Pakistan. Just one team remains on the mountains, and we wait anxiously of news of their success or departure from Gasherbrum I. But now that the climbers have returned home, we’re starting to get more details about some of the expeditions that took place in the Karakoram this year, with some remarkable efforts being putting fourth.
Until recently, it seemed that there had been only one summit of Broad Peak this year, with the success of Polish climber Andrzej Bargiel standing out in a tough season. But, Argentinian mountaineer Mariano Galvan also managed to top out on BP, finishing his solo ascent back in mid-July.
ExWeb reports the details of Mariano’s climb, having pulled the news from a recent interview he did with a magazine. He says that he had no intention of climbing BP this year, but had instead come to the Karakoram to attempt K2 instead. When he got to Base Camp however, he found too many teams on the mountain for his liking, so he decided to shift focus and attempt Broad Peak. When he transferred over to that mountain however, he discovered the normal route to the top was chocked with snow, which was preventing teams from going very high on the mountain.
With the normal route blocked, Mariano decided to shift to an alternate route that had more rocks. That helped to make it more stable, but it was also more exposed as well. While he wouldn’t have to contend with the risks of avalanche as much, he would face high winds that would buffet him along the way.
When he launched his summit bid, the Argentinian took the usual route up to Camp 3 at 6800 meters (22,309 ft) before diverting to his alternate path. He says it took just 11 hours to reach C3, as conditions were perfect, with little wind, warm temperatures, and high visibility. Those conditions may have lured him into a sense of over confidence however, as the following days would test his limits.
When he left C3 for the summit, Galvan took just one liter of water and some food. He was hoping to travel quick and light, and be up and down in less than 24 hours. It didn’t quite work out that way, and he would come to regret leaving his sleeping bag, tent, and other gear behind. It was slow going along his alternate route, and after a full day of climbing he only managed to reach 7600 meters (24,934 ft) – still well below the summit.
Mariano ended up spending the night trying to sleep on a snow ledge where he dug in his crampons to keep him in place. It was precarious to say the least, and he got little sleep. The next day however, he was able to finish the final push to the top, reaching the summit without rope, and under extreme exhaustion. But as we all know, getting up is only half the battle, and he had to find a way to descend safely too.
That descent proved every bit as harrowing as he thought it would be, and if hadn’t discovered a short piece of old rope, it may have been worse. Eventually he did get off the mountain safely however, and by the time he had finished he has spent more than 52 hours on his summit push alone. He would also go on to try for K2 with Carlos Suarez, but was forced to turn back under poor conditions.
You can read the full account of his climb, with more details, by clicking here.
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