A report on summiting Gasherbrum I
SUMMIT ATTEMPT DESCRIPTION
Adam Bielecki and Janusz Gołąb reached camp 3 (assault camp at 7,040 m above sea level) on 8th March at 2:00 PM. It was one day too late as 8th March was supposed to be the day of summit attempt due to very good weather forecasts. Unfortunately, one day earlier the wind blowing with 80 km/h thwarted their plans; the team failed to reach camp 3 and was forced to retreat to camp 2 at 6,450 m above sea level.
According to weather forecasts, on 9th March conditions were supposed to be good, but only till 12:00 PM. At night of 8th/9th March there was a full moon and thus, the team decided to attack the summit at night. Adam and Janusz set off from camp 3 at midnight. It was against the rules of winter climbing, however, the temperature was not exceptionally low – a thermometer in camp 3 showed “only” -35°C (and not -46°C) – what meant -53°C with the wind chill (and not -67°C).
They were lucky! The wind was very weak. The speed of climbing was very good – over 100 meters per hour. Thanks to the wind that was blowing earlier, the ground was hard and they did not have to clear their way. However, despite the favorable conditions and due to the cold the climbers were not able to perform even the slightest activities such as rearranging their caps, scarves or hand and foot warmers. Liquid in the so-called Camel bags (worn under down overalls) froze and the climbers were gradually becoming dehydrated. Moreover, they were not able to take out, open and eat energy gels. They could do nothing but focus on climbing as fast as they could.
They reached the summit at 8:30 AM. They could neither take out a Polish flag from a backpack nor take particularly attractive photos, however, they managed to take photos confirming their ascent.
Adam Bielecki on the summit
Due to lack of snow, technical conditions of the ascent were rather difficult and the descent looked dangerous. Favorable weather conditions were to persist only till the afternoon and therefore the descent followed the ascent almost immediately. The conquerors wanted to descent to the lowest possible altitude on the same day, i.e. below 7,000 m above sea level – directly to camp 2, where Artur Hajzer the leader of the expedition, and Shaheen Baign, a Pakistani, awaited them.
The plan was executed. Adam and Janusz reached camp 3 at 2:00 PM and after a short rest they continued their descent. There was a series of fixed ropes below camp 3 (in the Japanese Couloir) that enabled them to descent fast and thus, both of them reached camp 2 (6,450 m above sea level) at 5:00 PM. The descents were accompanied by bad weather and strong wind; a weather window that had been opened for several hours, closed …
The next day, i.e. 10th March, the climbers successfully reached the base camp.
Janusz Gołąb in BC
Dodał marek karnecki dnia 12.03.2012back