ISLAMABAD: Good news came from Gasherbrum I on Friday, where despite excessive snow on the track, an international team managed to summit the mountain.
Representatives of the Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) told Dawn that while the climb was tough, ideal weather conditions helped the mountaineers reach the peak at 8,080 metres.
The team left at night and reached the top after a 12 hour climb. Just 150 metres below the summit, the team led by French Yannick Graziani posted on their fan page, “Great weather, amazing views”.
Ferran Latorre, Yannick Graziani, Tom Seidensticker and Muhammad Sadik were the only climbers left on the mountain with all teams packing up and abandoning the climb because of unfavourable conditions.
Meanwhile, several mountaineers attempted to conquer the Gasherbrum II, on Friday. After several hours of climbing in deep snow, Polish climbers Olek and Peter were forced to abort the summit push after climbing to 7,600 metres.
Alpine Club’s Karrar Haidri said that they were now skiing down to mountain. On Broad Peak, climbers have not been so fortunate with most summit attempts being thwarted. Deep snow, high winds and unfavourable conditions forced the climbers to abort their attempts and retreat to the safety of the base camp.
Karrar Haidri told Dawn, “Climbers will go up on Sunday, to see if the summit attempt is possible. GI and GII witnessed few ascents by smaller climbing teams on Friday. On the world’s second highest mountain the K2, the climbing season is seriously threatened by dangerous conditions.”
ACP said that some climbers aimed to reach to the top of the Broad Peak on Saturday. The leader of Somos Ecuador team, Ivan Vallejo, updated his online page saying that he could not reach the summit due to terrible snowy conditions.
He said the ascent from Camp III to around 7,900 metres, which usually takes four to five hours, took nearly 11 hours. Evaluating that success on the mountain would not be easy on Saturday, the team decided to retreat to Camp III.
Juanito Oiarzabal and Alberto Zerain tried ascending from Camp III on Friday but they too retreated, said Karrar Haidri.
“The route between Advanced Base Camp (ABC) and Camp I is a sight to behold – water streams, avalanche debris and rock falls. A gigantic boulder was seen rolling down all the way from Camp I. All the fixed lines between ABC and above appear to have been damaged and rendered unusable,” said Joe Ashkar, who is part of the Madison Mountaineering Team.
The Madison Mountaineering Team’s Sherpa porters were on their way to Camp III, when Sherpa Kami was hit by falling rocks. He was out of danger, said ACP.
“Given these dangerous conditions, K2 teams are cancelling their attempts. The Swiss team has already abandoned their expedition. Some others have pulled the plug on their K2 missions, because of potential dangers. Apparently, the Hungarian duo and Seven Summits Team will not be going for summit, as well,” said Karrar Haidri, explaining how unfavourable weather has been forecasted for the next seven days, while climbers have still not managed to fix lines above Camp III.
“It’s possible that we might not even get a chance for a Summit attempt this season,” a mountaineer on K-2, Joe Ashkar posted on Friday.
Published in Dawn, July 26th, 2015