Gasherbrum II (8035 m), Gasherbrum I (8068 m)
and Broad Peak (8047 m) - Karakoram, Pakistan
The summer 2009 Philippe Gatta tried to climb Gasherbrum II
(8 035 m), Gasherbrum I
(8 068 m) and Broad Peak
(8 047 m) without supplementary oxygen. Philippe teamed up with Gorgan Wildberger and Serap Jangbu Sherpa. Serap had only Gasherbrum 1
, Broad Peak
and Nanga Parbat
left to complete the list of 14 8000 meters. Serap, Gorgan and Philippe were sharing base camp services with Altitude Junkies and ATP.
The weather has been very bad with lots of snow and constant high winds in altitude (50 km/h to 80 km/h). In 6 weeks of expeditions, they never had a good weather window for a safe summit bid. When they tried, they had to turn back in storms and avalanche conditions (see the blog for more details). Overall 2009 has been a bad year in Karakoram
with very few successes. At the time Philippe left the base camp nobody had summitted Gasherbrum 1
Peak and Ueli Steck was the only one who succeeded Gasherbrum 2
during an impressive and bold solo ascent.
The conditions improved slightly a few weeks later allowing Veikka Gustafsson, Kazuya Hiraide and a Bulgarian team to reach the top of Gasherbrum 1
. Veikka completed his 14x8000ers quest. Later on, Oh Eun-sun and a Spanish team also reached the top of Gasherbrum 1
. On Gasherbrum 2
, the Iranian team turned back 50-100m below the summit while a Spanish mountaineer disappeared near the summit the same day. Nobody reached the true summit of Broad Peak
and unfortunately a few deaths were reported on Broad Peak
. On Gasherbrum 6
, Daniela Teixeira and Paulo Roxo made several attempts but had to turn back because of poor snow condition and avalanches. For similar reasons, Don Bowie, David Falt, Bruce Normand, Guy McKinnon and Billy Peirson couldn’t reach the top of Gasherbrum 3 and 4
. Arian Lemal who was on a Gasherbrum 1 / Gasherbrum 2 expedition has made significant efforts to collect abandoned rubbish at Gasherbrum
BC and camp 1, like he did previously on Aconcagua
(8 068 m), Gasherbrum II
(8 035 m) and Broad Peak
(8 047 m) are located in the Karakoram range
(West of the Himalayas
) in the Northwestern part of Pakistan, at the borders of Pakistan, India and China. This Range has 4 peaks above 8 000 meters: K2
(8 611m), Gasherbrum I
and II and Broad Peak
, more than 60 peaks above 7 000 meters and even more 6 000 meters peaks.
Philippe, Gasherbrum IV and III behind (Photo Gorgan Wildberger)
The team arrived in Islamabad on June 6th. The flight from Islamabad to Skardu
has been canceled several times so they finally drove along the Karakoram highway
. This 28 hours bus ride was rough but they finally arrived in Skardu
on the 10th.
They reached Askole (2 950 m) a few days later, after 7 hours of Jeep from Skardu (120 km). On June 13, they started the trekking from Askole to the Gasherbrum base camp.
On the road between Skardu and Askole (Photo © P. Gatta)
Village of Shigar, between Skardu and Askole (Photo © P. Gatta)
Trekking to Gasherbrum BC:
Askole (2 950 m) - Jhula (3 100 m): 5h45 walk. ~20 km. Elevations: +430 / -330m. Overall it's a good trail which leaves the grassy camp of Askole and follows a sandy trail along the river. It can be really hot in the sun.
Jhula - Paiju (3 450 m): 5h30 walk. ~21 km. Elevations: +430 / -190m. Another day on the sandy trail that follows the river. Paiju is a plaisant camp site with some trees. It offers great views over the Nameless Tower (East of Trango).
Rest day at Paiju.
Nameless Tower (Photo © P. Gatta)
Paiju - Urdukas (4 050 m): 6h45 walk. ~19 km. Elevations: +1000m / -390m. The trail continues after Paiju for ~1 hour and then continues on the Baltoro glacier. From there on, the walk is 100% on the glacier moraine. It is rough, constantly zigzaging and going up and down. Urdukas is on the slopes above the glacier, on the South side. There are some grass and outstanding views over the Trango Tower.
Urdukas - Goro 2 (4 300 m): 4h35 walk. ~14 km. Elevations: +510m / -215m. After Urdukas the trail continues in the center of the Baltoro glacier. When the weather is clear, one can see the Masherbrum, Mustagh Tower, Gasherbrum IV and Broad Peak. Goro 2 camp site is on the glacier.
Porters on the Baltoro glacier between Urdukas and Goro 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Goro 2: it snowed during the night and the porters refused to go, so we spent another night at Goro 2.
Sunrise on the Trango Namless Towers, seen from Goro 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Goro 2 - Shagring (4 750 m): 7h walk. ~19km (3h30, ~11km up to Concordia). Elevations: +760m / -340m. From Goro 2, the trail continues in the center of the glacier up to Concordia. Concordia is the junction of several glaciers: Baltoro, Abruzzi, Godwin Austin and Vigne. The view from Concordia is amazing and probably one of the nicest in the world. We can see two 8000 meters peaks -K2 and Broad Peak, and countless peaks over 6000 m. It's is recommended to continue and camp at Shagring which is much cleaner than Concordia. The trek to the K2 and Broad Peak, goes to the North on the Godwin Austin glacier. The trek to the Gasherbrums goes to Southeast on the Baltoro glacier. The trek to the Gondogoro Pass goes to the Southwest on the Vigne glacier.
K2 and Broad Peak from Concordia (Photo © A. Gatta)
Shagring - Gasherbrum BC (5 150 m): 3h30 walk. ~11 km. Elevations: +500m / -210m. The walk to the Gasherbrum BC is relatively short along the Baltoro and the Abruzzi glaciers. There are outstanding views over the Gasherbrum peaks, Chogolisa, Mitra Peak and Baltoro Kangri. The base camp is located on the central moraine of the Abruzzi glacier, just below the start of the Icefall leading to the Gasherbrum 1.
Gasherbrum BC (Photo © P. Gatta)
Trekking from Gasherbrum BC to Gondogoro and Hushe:
Leila Peak seen from Huespah camp (Photo © P. Gatta)
Hushe (Photo © P. Gatta)
Askole: 35°40.978N / 75°49.006E
Jhula: 35°41.470N / 75°58.464E
Paiju: 35°40.631N / 76°07.542E
Urdukas: 35°43.637N / 76°17.072E
Goro 2: 35°44.673N / 76°24.075E
Concordia: 35°44.551N / 76°30.771E
Shagring: 35°42.472N / 76°34.136°E
Gasherbrum BC: 35°41.164 N / 76°39.023 E
Gasherbrum C1: 35°43.841N / 76°38.859E
Ali Camp: 35°39.891N / 76°30.739E
Gondogoro Pass: 35°39.240N / 76°28.265E
Shaisho: 35°31.020N / 76°24.190E
Hushe: 35°39.891N / 76°30.739E
Porter at Urdukas (Photo © P. Gatta)
(formaly K4) is part of the greater Gasherbrum
group of 6 peaks and is the world’s 13th highest mountain.
The first ascent was made on 8th July 1956 by Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch and Hans Willenpart. Since then, 871 climbers reached the top.
The normal route follows the Southwest ridge
The base camp is set at 5 150 m, Camp 1 at 5 950 m, Camp 2 at 6 450 m and Camp 3 at 7 000 m.
Gasherbrum II: Southwest ridge on the left, French route on the right. (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum II Camp 2 at 6 450m. Baltoro Kangri behind (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gorgan Wildberger in the Banana ridge of G 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Camp 4, traverse and summit pyramid of Gasherbrum 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
(also called Hidden Peak
or K5) is the highest of the Gasherbrum’s
, the 11th highest peak in the world and it is the second highest in the Karakoram Range
The first ascent was made July 5 1958 by Nicholas B. Clinch, Pete Schoening and Andy Kauffman. Since then, only 265 climbers reached the top. It's one of the less climbed 8 000 meters Peak.
The most common route is the Japanese Couloir. It is more technical and challenging than Gasherbrum II
and Broad Peak
. The base camp and the camp 1 are shared with the Gasherbrum II
, the Camp 2 is at 6 250 m (21,150ft) and the Camp 3 at 7 200 m (23,625ft).
Philippe Gatta in the Icefall,
Gasherbrum I behind (Photo Gorgan Wildberger)
Gasherbrum I seen from G II (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum I seen from the Icefall (Photo © P. Gatta)
Jet stream blowing on the Gasherbrum 1. Gasherbrum La on the left (Photo © P. Gatta)
is the 12th highest mountain in the world. It is located on the western Baltoro
glacier opposite to the K2
It has been named for its triple summit and long crest (~2 km long). It has 3 summits: the Main Summit at 8 047 m, Central Summit 8 016 m and North Summit 7 550 m.
First ascent was made in 1957 by Hermann Buhl, Fritz Wintersteller, Kurt Diemberger and Marcus Schmuck in alpine style. Since then, 385 climbers reached the top.
The normal route follows the West ridge
. The base camp is at 4 950 m, C1 at 5 800 m, C2 at 6 300 m and C3 at 7 100 m.
Broad Peak seen from the Baltoro glacier(Photo © P. Gatta)
Sunrise on Masherbrum seen from Goro 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
: trekking to and from Gasherbrum BC: 1. Askole, 2. Jhola, 3. Paiyu, 4. Urdakas, 5. Goro II, 6. Concordia, 7. Shagring, 8. Ali Camp, 9. Shaisho, 10. Hushe
: Base camps and high camps.
: Gasherbrum I, II, Broad Peak and K2 summits.
Colors: trekking Askole - Gasherbrum (cyan), trekking Gasherbrum - Hushe (green), Gasherbrum 1 route (green), Gasherbrum 2 route (light blue), Broad Peak route (yellow).
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Lenticular cloud on Chogolisa (Photo © P. Gatta)
Serap Jangbu Sherpa during the Puja (Photo © P. Gatta)