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Italian climber dies on Karakoram peak

Updated July 13, 2018

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GILGIT: An Italian mountaineer attempting to summit Gasherbrum IV has died after he was hit by falling ice.

Sources said on Thursday that the accident involving Maurizio Giordano, 32, occurred at an altitude of 6,300 metres.

At an elevation of 7,925 metres, Gasherbrum IV is the 17th highest mountain on Earth and the sixth highest in Pakistan in the Karakoram range.

Italian media reported that the aspiring mountain guide was a member of an expedition that included Valerio Stella, Marco Majori, Marco Farina and Daniele Bernasconi. The expedition was arranged by Hunza Guides, a leading tour agency.

Their goal was to ascend the 7,925-metre summit of the ‘shining mountain’ precisely 60 years after the peak was conquered by Walter Bonatti and Carlo Mauri, who formed part of the famous expedition led by Riccardo Cassin.

Alan Arnette, the oldest American climber to summit K2 in 2014, has written on his blog: “Once again, there is sad news from the Northern Pakistan Mountains. While attempting the almost 8,000-meter peak Gasherbrum IV, 32 years-old Italian climber Maurizio Giordano was hit by falling ice while on rappel.”

According to Mr Arnette, Mr Giordano was on an acclimatisation rotation with fellow Italian army climbers Marco Majori, Marco Farina and Daniele Bernasconi. “They had reached Camp 2 but decided to return to base camp as weather moved in.”

Mr Arnette said that Mr Giordano and his team members wanted to be the first to repeat the Bonatti-Mauri route along the northwest ridge on its 60th anniversary.

The sources said that Mr Giordano’s body had not been retrieved yet.

Meanwhile, the body of a Canadian mountaineer, who had fallen to his death a few days ago while attempting to climb K2, has been shifted to Islamabad.

Summit Karakoram spokesman Sakhawat Hussain said that the body was shifted from the K2 base to Skardu by helicopter provided by Askari Aviation on July 8.

It was later shifted from Skardu to Islamabad by a PIA flight on July 9.

The body has been kept in the Pakistan Institute of Medical Studies and will be sent to Canada on Friday.

Published in Dawn, July 13th, 2018