(By Raheel Adnan; Details about GI incident Updated; 9 July 2013, 11:00:00 EDT) AMICAL alpin teams bagged the first summit of the summer 2013 climbing season, when Austrian climber Josef Inhoger reached the top of Broad Peak (8051) on July 4th. Summit push started at 2:00AM under clear skies with moderate wind, but the climb proved to be tougher and exhausting, majorly because of excessive snow and no established route. Several climbers turned back before reaching 8000m altitude. It’s reported that six other climbers arrived at Foresummit (8035m), but couldn’t proceed to the main summit of Broad Peak.
Body at 7900m
Jacek Berbeka told an RMF24.pl reporter, that the first group of climbers (AMICAL alpin team) heading towards Broad Peak summit came across a body at around 7900m, positioned exactly on the climbing path to top. As per their description, it’s assumed that the body is of either of Polish climbers Maciej Berbeka or Tomasz Kowalski, who died on the mountain after making first winter ascent on March 5th. Based on available information from the winter-ascent day, it's believed that Tomasz Kowalski died of exhaustion, fatigue and hypothermia above 7900m, whereas Maciej Berbeka perhaps suffered a fatal fall, while descending further down. The sighting of body is indeed an emotional moment for the families and fans of Polish climbers.
Jacek Berbeka is younger brother of Maciej and is currently on a mission to find bodies of the two climbers. As first option, Jacek and team will try bringing them down to Base Camp but if circumstances don’t allow this, they will bury them on the mountain, ‘gracefully’ – away from the eyes of future climbers.
Accidents at Broad Peak BC
In an unfortunate incident at Broad Peak Base Camp, a German lady fell and disappeared into glacier water steam, while returning from higher camp. Her body was located and later recovered by Concordia Rescue Team, after two days of hard work. The deceased climber has been identified as Dana H. who was part of a German Expedition.
Brian Richard of FTA Team also suffered a leg injury below C1, while returning from an acclimatization trip. He was assisted to come down to BC and is currently waiting for a helicopter rescue to Skardu, which shall be possible once weather improves.
Nanga Parbat Summit Push
Romanians climbing Rupal side via Schell's route reached C4 (7200m) on Wednesday (July 3rd), but they were unable to make a summit bid this time. Strong wind didn't allow the team to go for summit. They have descended to lower camp, now and will wait for another summit weather window. Forecast suggests a full week of bad weather on Nanga Parbat.
All teams trekking to K2 have arrived at Base Camp, whereas Japanese Expedition and Swiss Team reached C2, before returning to BC due to bad weather. Climbing will resume once weather improves.
GI and GII teams, who were trekking last week, have reached the BC and are going through acclimatization, now. AMICAL alpin team is also in BC after tagging C3, last week. They are now ready for summit push. Spanish Patxi Goñi and Oscar Cadiach are currently on Baltoro Glacier marching towards GI Base Camp, while four Czech climbers will be arriving in Pakistan to attempt GI & GII.
Meanwhile, Montagna TV reports about an accident on GI, today, but details from the respective team are not available yet.
(UPDATE 1 Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 04:11:04 EDT)
Polish climber Krzysztof Wielicki told BBC, that they are unable to contact Artur Hajzer and Marcin Kaczkan. He also said that a Russian team is trying to reach the missing climbers but hurricane wind is presenting great difficulty. It’s feared that Artur and Marcin suffered an accident around C2.
(UPDATE 2 Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 08:10:00 EDT)
Initially it appeared that Artur may be safe in C2, and Marcin was in trouble. But the rescue teams reached C2, this morning and found Marcin Kaczkan alive in the tent. Whereabouts of Artur are still unknown. Following is an extract from official statement [Machine Translated].
"On Sunday, July 7 Artur Hajzer and Marcin Kaczkan left the camp III (7150 m) to reach the summit of Gasherbrum I (8068 m). Upon reaching the height of 7600 m, they turned back due to strong wind broke off the summit. Reached the camp III (7150 m) and using radio connected with the BC, the expedition cook, indicating that they will descend to Camp II (6400m) and everything is fine.”
"Also on Sunday at 11AM Polish time (1400hrs local time) Isabella Hajzer received a text message from her husband in which he wrote:" Marcin Kaczkan fallen Japanese couloir." We have not managed to make contact with Artur Hajzer, since then. We started rescue operation, managed by the German Gasherbrum Expedition leader Thomas Laemmle. During the night of Sunday to Monday, he sent a team of high-altitude porters, whose aim was to reach Camp II (6400 m). Due to strong winds and snow, they only managed to reach the camp I and turned back to the BC. During the night of Monday to Tuesday weather improved. From Camp I (6000 m) left the group of Russian climbers who reached the camp in the morning and found Marcin there ".
(UPDATE 3 Tuesday, 9 July 2013, 11:00:00 EDT)
As per Krzysztof Wielicki, Marcin told the rescue team that Artur had (probably) died but it's not confirmed. "I have not spoken with Marcin myself - his words were communicated to me by the climbers who are looking after him," Wielicki stresses.
TVN24 further quotes Wielicki, "We're trying all the time to connect using a satellite phone to the base of German expedition. Unfortunately there is no answer. Promised an e-mail that will confirm distressing news did not come" - informed the Krzysztof Wielicki at 15.30 (Polish time).
In his (Krzysztof) opinion, no contact 'confirms the first message'. "I believe in 100 percent, that Marcin wouldn't pass the news, if he was not sure", said Wielicki. He added that Kaczkan will descend to BC tomorrow, perhaps then we can have more details.
Based in Lahore, Pakistan, telecom engineer and mountaineering enthusiast Raheel Adnan is a reporter for ExplorersWeb's mountaineering sections. He shares regular updates on Twitter and runs his own blog at AltitudePakistan posting initiated climbing news from Himalaya and Karakoram.
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