Summer 2013: New Route, Summits, Burials and Summit Bids

It has been a couple of eventful days in Karakoram, with news arriving about new route on Broad Peak, summit on Gasherbrum II and burial of Polish climbers on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum I.

Iranian New Route Ascent of Broad Peak

Iranian team has successfully completed the new route on Southwest Face of Broad Peak, they had been working on since 2009. Three climbers (Aidin Bozorgi, Pouya Keivan and Mojtaba Jarahi), who bivouacked at around 8000m on the night of 15th, reached the summit on Tuesday, July 16th. The new route meets the normal route at C3 and then goes to right directly to main summit of Broad Peak (refer to images). Team left C3 on Saturday and has to make three bivouacs at altitudes of 7350m, 7450m and 8000m before reaching the summit (8051m).

But the climb isn’t over yet. From reports, it appears that the climbers haven’t reached the safety of C3 yet. Due to some confusion in descent path, they have to bivouac for fifth night on Wednesday at an altitude of 7700m. They will have to climb 100m today to reach the normal descent route to C3. It’s reported that all climbers in good health without any sign of hypothermia and edema. Two members of the team, Ramin Shojaei and Afshin Saadi are in C3 waiting for the summiteers.
Iranian route to C3
Iranian route from C3 to Summit on Broad Peak (Green line on the left is Normal route, whereas green line on right depicts Denis Urubko and Serguey Samoilov 2005 line of ascent).

More Broad Peak Summits

As per initial reports, Martin (Marty) Schmidt and his son Denali Schmidt of International K2/Broad Peak Team have made it to the main summit of Broad Peak. Australian Chris Mellor Warner reached Foresummit (8030m), whereas two Greek members of the team couldn’t make it to the top due to adverse weather conditions. The team is now heading towards K2 Base Camp, as the second part of the expedition. They will be climbing K2 via Southeast Ridge (Abruzzi Spur).

FTA Expedition’s Scott Stuart suffered a minor fall just above C3 and decided to cancel the summit bid. Ron Hoglin continued the ascent with three High Altitude Porters. It’s reported that Ron turned back from Foresummit, while it’s not known whether HAPs managed to reach the summit or not.

There are also reports that some Pakistani climbers made it to the summit of Broad Peak. Precise details of the ascent are awaited.
Broad Peak Summit Ridge; Photo: Dave Hart

First Summit of the Season on GII

While many climbers are currently making summit bids on G-II, Lela’s Gasherbrum Expedition team shared the news about first summit of the season on the mountain, a couple of days ago. As per reports, Argentinian Mariano Galvan bagged the summit on July 14th, reaching the top alone. Galvan will now proceed with GI climb.
GII Normal Route; Source

Burials at Altitude

Polish Expedition on Broad Peak looking for bodies of Maciej Berbeka and Tomasz Kowalski has concluded successfully. Body of Tomasz Kowalski, first sighted by AMICAL alpin team, was found at around 7900m and has been buried, away from the route to summit and sight of climbers. “We carried his body about a hundred feet down. Further transport would have been very difficult. After talking with his parents, it was agreed that we bury him in the most suitable place for the purpose. We found such a place, where no one will bother him. ” told Jacek Berbeka. “These six hours of work there at an altitude of 7900, I think we will remember it for a lifetime or even longer. Never in my life have I been so tired, Jacek (Jawien) too."

They were unable to locate body of Maciej Berbeka, which fortifies the belief that he fell into huge crevasse at around 7700m. “.. if Maciej is in the gap that in this situation - I'm sorry, so to speak - there is no better place.” Says his brother Jacek. Maciej and Tomasz died above 7700m after first winter ascent of the peak.

Body of another legendary Polish climber Artur Hajzer was also formally buried on GI, yesterday, as per wishes of his family. The task was carried out under the supervision of his climbing partner, Marcin Kaczkan. Artur perished on the mountain after suffering a fatal fall while descending to C2, on July 7th.

Summit Bids Underway

Summit pushes are currently underway on Nanga Parbat and GI.

Romanian Nanga Parbat team is currently at around 7300m-7400m on Schell route. One member of the team, Bruno Adamcsek, has aborted the attempt due to health issues and is descending now, while remain four climbers will move forward depending upon weather conditions. It’s not decided yet, whether they will carry out the summit bid directly from this position or will go further up.

Illustration by Sandy Allan (Mazeno Ridge Expedition 2012) depicting the climbing route above Mazeno Pass. Romanian Team on Schell's Route is considering this option.

On GII, AMICAL alpin team of German climbers led by Thomas Laemmle is hoping to reach the summit today (July 18th). They reached C3 (7000m) a couple of days ago and were hoping to leave for summit at around mid-night today.

Kobler-Partner GII team led by Swiss lady Suzanne Husser also left BC earlier this week (on 14th), with a plan to reach the top on 17th. Based on weather conditions, it can be expected that they may also be going for summit today.

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