Summer Climbs 2015: Czechs Abandon Attempt on Gasherbrum I


Bad weather in the big mountains of Pakistan have once again brought a halt to climbing there, and possibly finally shut down the summer climbing season for good. ExWeb has posted the news that the Czech climbing team of Marek Holecek and Tomas Petrecek have returned to Base Camp on Gasherbrum I after having their summit bid thwarted by heavy snow and high winds. It is unclear at this time just how close they got to the summit, or whether or not they’ll try again.

The two men spent nearly two weeks on GI, even though when they set out from BC on their summit push they took fuel and supplies for just seven days. We do know that they managed to climb as high as 7300 meters (23,950 ft), although according to reports it seems they got a lot higher than that before turning back. The expedition’s sponsor says that they got “really close” to the top, but simply couldn’t continue all the way up.

Te team’s chosen route of ascent was a direct line up GI’s southwest face, which Marek has attempted on two other occasions in the past. From the sounds of things, his third attempt along this new route was more successful than previous expeditions, but conditions simply weren’t right to finish off the climb.

Marek and Tomas returned to BC this afternoon local time, where they are reportedly resting and regaining their strength. It isn’t known if they will give Gasherbrum I another go, but that seems very unlikely. It is now late in the summer climbing season, and the weather has not been cooperative for weeks. It seems far more likely at this point that they’ll pack up camp and head home. But until we have confirmation of their departure, there remains a chance that they’ll consider another summit bid. At this point, that will be determined by the amount of supplies they have left over, and the weather forecast. Their physical conditioning will also play a role as well.

In all likelihood we have seen the end of a very long summer climbing season at last. It has not been a very successful one, as K2 turned back all challengers and Broad Peak allowed just two summits all season long. But, fortunately where were very few accidents, and aside from a couple of incidents, everyone got up and down safely. The mountains will be there next year, ready to welcome teams once again.

Kraig Becker