Gasherbrum-I Expedition 2016

                                                

Fact about Gasherbrum-I

Location: Pakistan

Altitude: 8068 m
Position: 11th highest
First ascent: July 5, 1958 by Andrew Kauffman and Peter Schoening
Summits/Deaths: 345/29

Death Rate after summit:  11.89%

The first successful ascend was made on July 5, 1958 by an American Expedition led by Mr. Nick Clinch where his two fellow climbers Pete Schoening and Andy Kauffman reached on the summit for the first time.

 

     Originally we planned to climb Gasherbrum-I and then K2. Since we started bit late, we got the news of setting route on K2 to camp-III which was not true when we reached there. So we choose to go K2 first and then to G1.  We set our camp and started acclimatizing. We made ourselves ready for K2 summit push and tried for 13th July but we had to postpone our expedition because of bad weather.  Then we again made our summit plan for 26th July.

                The avalanche on 23rd July at camp-3 of K2 washed away all our climbing equipment and rope prepared for summit push. That closed everyone’s hope of reaching summit in 2016. On 24th July everyone got down to base camp and started packing to go home. Dream remained dream…….

We still had our plan of climbing Gasherbrum-I so we called our porters to go Gasherbrum base camp. We waited two days in K2 base camp for porters to come there.

Our another team on Mt Gasherbrum-II started summit push on 25thJuly night. I was in contact with them talking on radio from K2 base camp. We had very powerful radio signal that made our communication easier. Whole the day, tried to get connected and waiting for them to reach summit.  At around 12 pm, Dawa told the weather was getting cloudy and started snowing and all climbers were talking to abort the summit push. But our weather report showed clear weather and I had already requested my teacher to give us time to time update on that day. I phoned him and he told the weather would be clear within few minutes. Therefore I asked team on Gasherbrum-I to continue or wait for while. After an hour, I got radio call again and they mentioned the weather was clean and clear and they were approaching to summit. I took the breathe of relief.

Our team at K2 were discussing to give one more try on K2 which for me was worthless and I strongly felt that if try K2 then  we would loose our chance to summit G1 also.  Whole the day I didn’t talk with team at K2 because I was more worried for G2 climbing team. Finally at around half passed 2 pm, I got radio call saying that 8 of them made it to G2 summit and remaining other team all returned back.  So this year, only 8 climbers made to G2 summit. Climbing is not over yet, still all the way back to camp-III remains after the summit too.  If you see the history of mountaineering then more accident occurred while descending. So we had to wait for their safe return back to camp-III. Dawa radioed me after they crossed the long traverse on the way to summit.  I felt like it was done safely. I told him to contact me reaching camp-III and within an hour he said they were having tea at camp. Congratulation to whole team on Gasherbrum-II and have safe return to camp-I tomorrow.  Goodnight.

              Ali Reza (Blue) , Liu Yong zhong ( Red) and Dawa Gyalje (orange)  on the summit of Gasherbrum-II

 

          Radios made by our big brother, Dr Boshi.

 

27th July: Trek to Concordia

Our porter arrived early morning at K2 base camp. We packed our gears and tents and trek down to Concordia. It rained almost whole day.

Pakistani porters are really nice. They carry load in day time and sleep in a cozy  stone built hut covered by plastic and eat handmade bread. They sleep on glacier without proper mat and sleep hugging each other so that they can keep themselves warm

 

28th July: Arrive in G1 BC

It rained whole night and continued till morning. We were not sure to go base camp that day as it was raining and our porters were not ready to walk in that rain. We waited till 9am and then sun came out. Our team started trekking towards base camp. I waited there for more porters to come there to take all our belongings to Gasherbrum BC. Finally at around 2 pm our porters arrived and we also trekked to BC.

29th July: Rest day at BC

  It was necessary for us to prepare for Gasherbrum-I ascend and relax. So we took a rest day at base camp. Also our Gaserbrum-II team arrived to base camp on 28th early morning making successful ascent on 26th July, they were in need of rest to continue on Gasherbrum-I again. It would have been better to take more days rest but we didn’t have time.

30th July:  Climb to camp-I

     Base camp to camp-I on G1G2 is not easy either.  We started early morning to avoid sun shine. The beginning section started with lots of giant ice pinnacles and lots of crevasses. It was difficult to detect way to camp-I in that icefall.  Walking around for 2 hours, we finally reached on snow section. The deep and big crevasses threatened our lives and the heat of sun. Reaching camp-I was challenging itself.

 

31st July: climb to camp-II

The way from camp-I to camp-II is the easiest and safest way. It takes around 3 hours only. Camp-II lies beneath the Japanese Couloir at the altitude of 6400m.

 

1st August: setting route to camp-3 and camp-1 pick up

The weather report showed August 3rd and 4th were good day to try summit. I had planned one extra day at camp-II to fixed the line to camp-III because I have read some reports where it described about Japanese couloir, the most technical and difficult part on G1.

As planned, I took Ali with me to fix way to camp-III as Ali was expert and he made G1 summit twice earlier. I fixed all the way to camp-III myself and Ali was there for showing the way and helping me to carry ropes. We stopped almost 200m below camp-III as we were late to return back to camp-II.

  Dawa Gyalje and Dakipa went down to camp-I to pick up some more food and rope for higher camps. They returned back to camp-II earlier than us. Our other team members took complete rest at camp-II.

 

 

2nd August: climb to camp-3

We wanted to start earlier to camp-III but high speed wind pushed us back. The track we opened earlier day were all covered by wind and small avalanches by wind. I began to climb up and other team members followed my steps.

The Japanese couloir is too difficult to cross if windy. The wind blow the snow and take it to the couloir and flow down in the couloir. It forms like small avalanches which make Japanese couloir more difficult to cross. It was windy day and we had to climb in those avalanches. I almost ended our expedition at that point. It was chilling cold and I was afraid to lose fingers of our team members. As soon I reached above the couloir, it was easier and not cold at all. So we continued to camp-III.

3rd August- Rest and set route to camp-IV

  As per the weather report, there was changes in weather and high wind. So it was not good day for us to try summit. Instead, we took rest. It was cloudy and windy whole morning. In the noon, we got out of tent. I took Ali and went to see the summit way and we carried a coil of rope and few snow bars and ice crews. Out two Sherpa went down to fetch up our deposited rope and oxygen cylinders.  I went with Ali to detect the route to summit. We climbed around 2 hours and returned back seeing snow condition and way to summit. It was very windy and cloudy so we didn’t take risk to go higher and get tired. When we returned back, our two Sherpa were already there in camp.

   4th August-The summit day

 Can we make summit?? It was question in everyone’s mind. We planned to go earlier but the wind continued so we delayed around an hour. Dakipa and Dawa woke up early and made food ready. While they were busy with cooking, we were gearing up. The wind outside stopped and we all were out being ready for our goal. Since our member were experienced, they fit their crampons and other gears by themselves. I started clearing the ropes and tied everyone there with me. We were 8 people together, heading myself at first. We continued on one main rope till we reach the steeply part of the ice. After then I began to fix rope above it. I knew our sherpa were tired because of continuous hard work and heavy load, I didn’t want them take the lead and get more tired. As I was about to finish the 200m coil rope, I was bright morning. Then I again fixed another 200m rope continuously. We had separated only 600m rope for summit push getting suggestion from Ali as he climbed G1 twice earlier. We still had long way to go but we had only about 150m rope left. So I kept on fixing the rope ahead and the last one would take out the rope and Ali would bring it to me. Same rope we used till summit and on the way back by same technique. The summit was looking closer but it wasn’t. Few hundreds meter below the summit, the way was more on left but I felt like that would take more time so I prefer go straight forward through rock and snow. It was safer from avalanche as well. We took rest touch the rocky section. I continued with rope fixing. Our team followed me continuously. There was area where the snow comes to my chest and it was very hard to move ahead. I got very tired so I ask Ali to go ahead. He tried around 10-15 meters and gave up because they were not tall enough to battle. As a result I had to move forward again. Around 100m was very hard and power snow which was indication of easy avalanche. I moved straight pointing giant rock. Once I crossed the rock, I found better condition and made anchorage there. Fixing the rope there, I asked other member to climb up and I waited there till Ali arrive because it was new anchorage so was not sure of rigid. Then further I moved around 15 meters and I was on summit ridge. I made one final anchorage there and move to summit. It was very safe and easier so I came back to final anchorage and waited there. One by another, all arrived then and headed to summit. Bhujung started song on his mobile at base camp and connected with us on radios. Moment of joy started and everyone got busy taking pictures and videos. We had very perfect day, no wind, no clouds.

Mingma G, Zhang Liang, Azong and Dawa on summit of Gasherbrum-I. Mingma and Zhang Liang climbed Manaslu in 2009, Annapurna in 2015 and G1 in 2016 and reach summit of Kanchenjunga together in 2013. Azong climbed Annapurna,  Gasherbrum-I and Gasherbrum-II together with this team.

                        Ali, Jingxue and Dawa on the summit of Gasherbrum-I

 

 

 It was already 3 pm so we started descending. I preferred Dawa go first because he is trained IFMGA/UIAGM guide and knows all the system. I felt myself more daring so I stayed at last because we had to play with same rope till we get down to fixed line. While descending we took traditional way on left.  Dawa kept on fixing the main line and I descent down clearing the rope. Before it get dark, we were already on fix line, that means we are safe.

We continued descent down. Then we reached the easier part where we didn’t fix line. I recorded the route on my Iphone GPS but it got shut down because of cold. But our German friend had his GPS which made us easier to find the missing way. Then we found the snow highway to our camp. Around 9 0’clock at night we all were back to camp. We boiled water and took some light food and slept.

5th August-Descent to camp-I

As usual, Dakipa and Dawa woke up earlier and prepared breakfast. Having breakfast, we got out of tent. The weather was not bad with less wind but little cloudy.  We closed our tents and started descending to camp-II. Within an hour, we all reached at camp-II. We dag our deposited gas, food, belongings and cooked. Have food and rest for few hours, we continued to camp-I. We stopped at camp-I because the scary part of climbing is between base camp and camp-I in middle of icefall and crevasse.  The best time to pass through was early morning before the sunrise.

6th August-Descent to base camp

Early morning we packed our equipment and walked down over large crevasses and life threatening icefalls. After finishing the icy part, our two staffs, Sirbaz and Tamting were there waiting for us with tea, cookies, water and juice. They welcomed us with greeting, CONGRATULATION.

We continued to base camp and again our Chef, Phujung was waiting at the top of the camp with our religious garland, KHATA. He looked happier than us and he had his amazing dining set up with verities of food item.

Next day we took rest and then packed our whole base camp and trek back to city area.

 

Congratulation to our whole team.

G1 summit Date: 04-08-2016

1.       Zhang Liang-China- 12X8000m peak

2.       Liu Yong Zhong (Azhong)- China-8X8000m peak

3.       Dong Hong Juan (Jingxue)- China-6X8000m peak

4.       Mingma Gyalje Sherpa- Nepal-8X8000m peak

5.       Dawa Gyalje Sherpa- Nepal-6X8000m peak

6.       Dakipa Sherpa- Nepal-5X8000m peak

7.       Ali Reza Sadpara-Pakistan-4X8000m Peak

8.       Steffen Helmut Otto-Germany-First 8000m Peak

 

G2 summit date: 26-07-2016

1.       Liu Yong Zhong (Azhong)- China-8X8000m peak

2.       Dawa Gyalje Sherpa- Nepal-6X8000m peak

3.       Ali Reza Sadpara-Pakistan-4X8000m Peak