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Gasherbrum II (8035 m), Gasherbrum I (8068 m)
and Broad Peak (8047 m) - Karakoram, Pakistan


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Gasherbrum I (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum I (Photo © P. Gatta)

Three 8 000 meters Peaks

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 and Broad 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 and K2. 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.

Gasherbrum I (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 © P. Gatta, Gorgan Wildberger)
Philippe, Gasherbrum IV and III behind (Photo Gorgan Wildberger)

Photos Gallery of the Karakoram expedition

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Trekking to Concordia, the Gasherbrum Base Camp and Gondogoro Pass

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)
On the road between Skardu and Askole (Photo © P. Gatta)

Village of Shigar, between Skardu and Askole (Photo © P. Gatta)
Village of Shigar, between Skardu and Askole (Photo © P. Gatta)

Trekking to Gasherbrum BC:

Gasherbrum BC (Photo © A. Gatta)
Gasherbrum BC (Photo © P. Gatta)

Trekking from Gasherbrum BC to Gondogoro and Hushe:

GPS Coordinates:

  • 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)
Porter at Urdukas (Photo © P. Gatta)

Gasherbrum II (8 035 m / 26,361 ft)

Gasherbrum II (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 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum II: Southwest ridge on the left, French route on the right. (Photo © P. Gatta)

Gasherbrum II Camp 2 at 6 450m (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum II Camp 2 at 6 450m. Baltoro Kangri behind (Photo © P. Gatta)

Climbers in the Banana ridge of Gasherbrum 2 (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)
Camp 4, traverse and summit pyramid of Gasherbrum 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)

Gasherbrum I (8 068 m / 26,469 ft)

Gasherbrum I (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 © P. Gatta, Gorgan Wildberger)
Philippe Gatta in the Icefall,
Gasherbrum I behind (Photo Gorgan Wildberger)

Gasherbrum I seen from G II (Photo © P. Gatta)
Gasherbrum I seen from G II (Photo © P. Gatta)

Gasherbrum I seen from the Icefall (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)
Jet stream blowing on the Gasherbrum 1. Gasherbrum La on the left (Photo © P. Gatta)

Broad Peak (8 047 m / 26,401ft)

Broad Peak 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 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Broad Peak seen from the Baltoro glacier(Photo © P. Gatta)

Sunrise on Masherbrum seen from Goro 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)
Sunrise on Masherbrum seen from Goro 2 (Photo © P. Gatta)

Map of the Gasherbrum, Broad Peak Expedition



Legend:
: 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)
Lenticular cloud on Chogolisa (Photo © P. Gatta)

Serap Jangbu Sherpa during the Puja (Photo © P. Gatta)
Serap Jangbu Sherpa during the Puja (Photo © P. Gatta)





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