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with Stefan Nestler

Summit attempts on Gasherbrum IV abandoned

Gasherbrum Iv

The weather conditions in the Karakoram remain difficult. German David Göttler and Italian Herve Barmasse had to give up their attempt on the almost-eight-thousander Gasherbrum IV. The two had originally planned to first climb the Southwest Face of the 7,932-meter-high mountain in the Karakoram for the first time. “For now, G IV must remain a dream climb,” writes David on Facebook. “Sad and frustrated we have been forced back to Base Camp by unpredicted snowfall. (The) Avalanche danger is too high.” Also the Spaniards Oriol Baro, Roger Cararach, Iker Madoz and Marc Toralles abandoned their summit attempt because of the bad weather and returned from Camp 2 at 6,500 meters. They had planned to reach the summit via the still unclimbed South Pillar.

Great Trip

Felix Berg’s summit selfie on Gasherbrum II

So far there have only been two successes on the Gasherbrum summits this season. German Luis Stitzinger and Italian Gianpaolo Corona reached the 8,080-meter-high summit of Gasherbrum I on 18 July, “after an ascent through calf deep snow, in alpine style and without using artificial oxygen,” as Luis reported on Facebook. Two days earlier Pole Adam Bielecki and German Felix Berg had reached the highest point of Gasherbrum II at 8,034 meters, also without bottled oxygen. “It was a great trip,” Felix tells me, now back with his family in Switzerland. “And this on a mountain that is normally overcrowded. In this respect, the weather was blessing in disguise.” For three weeks before it had snowed almost continuously. The commercial expeditions had not reached further than Camp 1 at 5,900 meters, there were no fixed ropes on the higher parts of the mountain.

Logical line

Adam Bielecki on the West Ridge

Actually Bielecki and Berg, together with Jacek Czech, another Poland, had also wanted to tackle Gasherbrum IV via a new route through the East Face. They had only wanted to climb Gasherbrum II to acclimatize. Because of the persistently bad weather, they changed their plans and decided to try a new route variant through the West Face in the upper part of the mountain. “The normal route up to Camp 3 at 6,900 meter is a beautiful straight line, but then it bends to the right,” explains Felix. “The West Face is actually the logical extension of this line up to the summit.” The fragile rock slabs in the wall were a problem for them, says the 37-year-old. “We couldn’t belay ourselves. We were roped up with some pseudo belaying between us. No one should have slipped or fallen.”

Fall into a crevasse during descent

The crevasse into which Felix fell

Berg and Bielecki reached the summit, traversed it and descended on the normal route. Jacek Czech and the Russian Boris Dedeshko, climbing up the normal route, had had to turn back earlier. On the way down to the base camp Felix Berg experienced a moment of shock. Shortly before the finish he fell 15 meters deep into a crevasse. Luckily, Boris and he were roped up at the time. “I was pretty lucky,” says Felix. “I just got a few bruises and a cut that needed stitches. But I got off lightly for a 15-meter fall.”

P.S.: I am now away for a good two weeks – actively relaxing in the Alps. 🙂


2. August 2018 | 16:15