We’re now less than three weeks from the official start of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, which means some of the best mountaineers in the world are getting ready to depart on some seriously challenging expeditions. We already know that several teams will attempt K2 in the days ahead, as they look to make the first winter ascent of that mountain. But last week two other experienced climbers have announced their plans and they are just as bold and audacious.
Winter climbing specialist Simone Moro and his partner Tamara Lunger have announced that they will attempt a full traverse of the Gasherbrum Massif in winter. This major undertaking will start with an attempt to summit GI, which has only been climbed once in winter, with Moro leading the way on that first ascent back in 2011.
After topping out on the 8080 meter (26,510 ft.) peak, they’ll then descend to Gasherbrum La at 6500 meters (21,325 ft), before proceeding up GII, which stands 8035 meters (26,362 ft) in height. That mountain has only been climbed once in winter as well, and it is important to point out that this traverse has only been done once too. It was completed by Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander back in 1984, but they did it in the middle of summer.
Moro and Lunger expect to leave for Pakistan sometime in the middle of the month, and after prepping their gear in Islamabad, they’ll be off to Karakoram as quickly as possible. They’ll want to be on the mountain as early in winter as they can be so that they have plenty of time to acclimatize to the cold and altitude.
To help with that process, the two climbers are using oxygen tents and a hypobaric chamber, which should allow them to arrive in Pakistan already well acclimatized.
Still, this won’t be an easy expedition by any stretch of the imagination. Climbing one 8000-meter peak in winter is a challenge, traversing two will be nearly impossible. You can bet we’ll be following along and posting regular updates on their progress, as the sis going to be one harrowing climb to follow. More to come soon.
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