INSIGHT AND FORESIGHT

August 10, 2013

GASHERBRUM 1: THE KILLER MOUNTAIN OF 2013

SW Face

Gashebrum1

Gashebrum1

Czech Mountaineering Federation head, Zdenek Hruby, has died while climbing Gasherbrum I, a 8,068-metre (26,469-foot) peak in Pakistan’s Karakoram range, the Czech Mountaineering Federation said on its website on Saturday.

Gasherbrum I, also known as Hidden Peak, is the world’s eleventh highest peak.

I talked to the President of Pakistan Alpine Club who was not clear if the expedition had deviated from its original route. However a report from Prague says that Hruby, 57, and his long-time climbing partner Marek Holecek, 38, were attempting the first ascent of the south-west face of the mountain. This is usually a restricted route due to the close proximity of Camp 1 and 2 to the Conway Saddle, the beginning of Saltoro Range.

I with a Swiss French expedition in 1982 and earlier a Pak-US expedition had already climbed this route marked in a Red circle.

What appears probable is that this expedition had initially taken the traditional North East Route (also followed by the Three Spanish and a Polish Climber Artur Hajzer who died on the same mountain a month ago), traversed the ice face of Seracs and Avalanche basin to climb onto the South West Ridge. If they were indeed doing this, it was a very daring a dangerous move.

A closer look at the mountain in the second picture illustrates what could have happened. From the Camp IV on North East Face they decided to traverse to South West and follow the ridgeline of sharp pinnacles to the summit marked in RED. The Yellow line shows the route taken by me with the Yellow Circle in Bottom Right where I fell hundreds of feet. This is very unstable ice and a little lapse of concentration can cause a fall.

I pray for the departed souls and join their families in grief on this Killer Mountain.

Le Capitaine Samson Simone Sharaf

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