Karakoram Summer 2018: Climber Perishes on Gasherbrum IV, Progress on K2

800px Gasherbrum IV

There is more sad news to report from the Karakoram today as it was revealed that Italian climber Maurizio Giordano has died on Gasherbrum IV. He was part of a team of four who were attempting the 7925 meter (26,001 ft) peak this summer and was struck be a large piece of ice that broke free above him and tumbled down the mountain. Giordano was pronounced dead on the scene, although his teammates escaped without serious injury.

The group was apparently making an acclimatization rotation when the accident occurred at 6300 meters (20,669 ft). They had been preparing to attempt a repeat of the same route used by Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri in celebration of the 60th anniversary of that historic climb along GIV’s Northeast Ridge.

Our condolences go out to Maurizio’s friends and family, as well as the other teams still on GIV. Several teams remain on that mountain, including a squad consisting of Adam BieleckiJacek Czech, and Felix Berg who are attempting a new route along the East Face, and David Göttler and Hervé Barmasse hope to do the same on the Southwest Face.

Meanwhile, over on K2 progress is being made. The Sherpa teams have established Camp 3 on the mountain and have begun fixing ropes up to C4 as well. The Madison Mountaineering team checked in from Base Camp yesterday where the entire squad is resting following their acclimatization rotations up to Camp 2, but they also report their support team is busy shuttling gear to the high camps in preparation for summit bids. When the summit push will begin remains anyone’s guess, but Dawa Sherpa of Seven Summits Treks reports a window of stable weather in the forecast for July 19-23, which may be when teams go on the move.

Speaking of K2, extreme mountain skier Andrzej Bargiel has arrived on the mountain and has begun his preliminary rotations up the mountain to scout the slopes. As you may recall, Bargiel is hoping to make the first ski descent of the world’s second highest peak. Last year he made the same attempt but was turned back due to poor weather and significant avalanche danger. He’s hoping to have more luck this season.

Finally, Fredrik Sträng checked in from Broad Peak yesterday where he was making a summit push of his own. The team climbed directly to C3 carrying loads of gear with the thought of resting there prior to going for the top. But deep snow above that point on the mountain changed their minds. The group descended back to BC where they are now resting prior to departing for K2.

That’s all for today. More news soon.

Kraig Becker