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  Gasherbrum I Trip report


Gasherbrum I Trip report 2003

Jorge Egocheaga, Japanese Couloir (G1, 6650m, 25. June 2003)

Gerfried Goeschl

Eleven expeditions had permits for 8,068m Gasherbrum I, a number of which also planned to climb Gasherbrum II, which shares the same Base Camp. On the 5th, 23rd and 26th July a total of 19 climbers were successful. All climbed via the Normal Route up the Japanese Couloir. These included one Nepalese Sherpa and one Pakistani with a Korean expedition, the very experienced Ukraine mountaineer, Vladislav Terzyul, the Benet/Meroi/Vuerich combo on the 26th just seven days after their ascent of Gasherbrum II and the Spanish Basque Edurne Pasaban, who was completing her sixth 8,000m peak. Pasaban, born in August 1973, started Alpine climbing when she was 16 and appears to have a very modest CV of ascents. In the mid 1990s she climbed several unremarkable non-technical ascents in Peru and Ecuador, such as Chimborazo, but from 1988-2001 attempted both Everest and Dhaulagiri twice, reaching 8,600m on the North Side of Everest without oxygen. The world's highest peak was climbed from the south in 2001 and both Makalu and Cho Oyu in 2002. In the spring of 2003 she reached the summit of Lhotse. With her ability at altitude now well-proven, Pasaban is close to becoming the premier living female in the realm of 8,000m-peak collectors. Only the American, Christine Boskoff, has the same number of ascents, as did Chantal Mauduit before she died. The record is still held by the famous Polish mountaineer, Wanda Rutkiewicz, who had achieved eight before her untimely death on Kangchenjunga in 1992.

Sadly there were four deaths on the mountain. On the 17th July the experienced Ukrainian climber, Vladimir Pestrikov, sustained a bad injury at c6,000m on the South Gasherbrum glacier, when he and several other members were caught in an avalanche. Although his team-mates were able to evacuate him to Camp 1 at 5,600m, from where he was very quickly picked up by helicopter and flown to Skardu Hospital, he died later the same day. This Ukrainian team, which included Terzyul as mentioned above, was planning to climb the South West Face Direct, but changed to the Normal Route after the accident. The other two deaths occurred to the first summit party. Josť Manuel Buenaga from Asturia in Spain and Nancy-Noemi Silvestrini, the first Argentinean women to summit, were descending on the 5th July when they became unwell. Although Silvestrini was rescued, while she was being lowered down the mountain it appears she was dropped. At the time of writing there are few details of this or the accident that occurred later in the season to Mohammad Oraiz, a Pakistan porter on an (unsuccessful) Iranian expedition, who is known to have died. The ascents reported above mean that Gasherbrum I has now been climbed 195 times.

Muhammad Irfan 

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