Winter Gasherbrums update: GII summiteers back in BC, GI team at work on a new route

Posted: Feb 04, 2011 09:49 am EST

(By Angela Benavides) Denis Urubko just checked in from Gasherbrum's BC. The team is safely back after bagging the first winter 8000er summit in Pakistan - but only by sheer luck, the Kazakh said.

Gerfried, Louis and Alex will set off towards a new route on Hidden Peak's south face as soon as weather conditions permit.

Winter GII: Alive by miracle

The GII winter pioneers are safe and sound in BC after an extremely tough descent. Crossing the Gasherbrum glacier between C1 and BC alone took them most part of the day. According to the first comments, yesterday was even worse though.

"We're in BC - all alive and fine - simply luck," Denis texted his wife minutes ago. However, Urubko's laconic words barely illustrate what it really took to descend from the summit.

At arrival, Simone described a nightmarish experience to the wide-eyed Gerfried, Louis and Alex.

"They said descending was much worse than the summit climb," Alex Txikon told Jorge Chueca of over sat-phone. "Relentless avalanches falling from G5 and G6 came at them in all directions - Simone swears it was only by miracle that none swept them off. They showed us some summit pics in such extreme col conditions that - God - they're scary!"

Further reports by the climbers themselves, details and images are expected through the weekend - after the men get some well deserved rest.

GI team on a new route on the south side

Meanwhile Gerfried Göschl, Louis Rousseau and Alex Txikon have also made the best of their day. Taking advantage of slihgtly better conditions today, they set off from BC early this morning and found a line to the base of GI's south face - the chosen flank to open a new route. "It took us just 3 hours to reach the base of the wall so, since we were strong and had plenty of time, got to work and fixed the first 200 meters towards our planned C1," Alex was happy to report. The three men then returned to BC, just in time to greet Simone, Denis and Cory.

As for the planned new route, Txikon ponders its relative safety, but also the extra motivation brought by the chance to forge a new line on a Karakoram winter 8000er. "The targeted line is extremely avalanche-prone in summer, but safer this time of the year," Txikon said yesterday.

"Also, this way we will avoid the dangerous crossing of Gasherbrum glacier (necessary on the way to GI and GII normal routes). We are not going strictly alpine-style, but will try to climb as light and fast as possible," Alex added. "It's a lesson we've learned from Simone & Co. "

Team leader gerfried Göschl had been studying GI's topo for possible new lines, but the final decision has been made public only now.

Links to Karakoram 2011 winter teams:

Broad Peak

Polish Winter Broad Peak team website


TNF journal

Simone Moro blog

Denis Urubko blog

Gerfried Göschl

Gerfried's SPOT tracking

Louis Rousseau

Alex Txikon

"We're in BC - all alive and fine - simply luck," Denis just said upon arrival in BC from GII winter summit.
courtesy Denis Urubko
Route from GII's C1 to BC across the broken Gasherbrum glacier.
courtesy Denis Urubko
Gasherbrum I south face (enlarge to see the planned new route in red).
courtesy Gerfried Göschl - Winter GI team

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