Gasherbrum II Expedition
Mount Everest  |  K2  |  Genyen  |  Jasemba  |  Gasherbrum II  |  Nanga Parbat

Start in Milan on the 6th June 2007. Arrival in Kashgar (China) Xinjian on the 9th June. Reached the base camp on the 20th June. Reached the peak on the 20th July and arrived in Pakistan on the 21st July.

In July 2007, I, Karl Unterkircher, together with my comrades Michele Compagnoni and Daniele Bernasconi set off for this expedition so much desired, the Gasherbrum 2.

This expedition had been planned together with a group of Spanish climbers but on reaching the destination they backed out. We decided to go ahead and attempt to conquer the north face even trough our comrades had changed idea on the initial project. Without their equipment we only had a few climbing screws and not enough length of static lines to face the initial conglomerate pillar of approx. 800 meters.

After setting up Base Camp at 4800 meters we set about a first  attempt at climbing the rock pillar. The dangerous ice flow so close to the pillar which drops from the base of the G2 wall for 1000 meters, with it’s continuous off loads of ice, made us immediately fear and respect this daunting lady the Gasherbrum 2. So much so that we decided to change our point of attack.

The next day we identified an alternate ascent and climbed half way up fixing lines along the route. The second day loaded with more lines we managed to complete the ascent make it to a plateau on top of the pillar at approx. 5900 meters. There we set up our tent. The climb is not exceptionally difficult but climbing in alpine boots makes it significantly more so. Some sections were 5+ to 6th grade. From there on the wall of the Gasherbrum 2 looked extremely dangerous with some incredibly dangerous ice pillars.  We decided the best way to continue would be in alpine style carrying all necessary things with us in our backpacks to the peak.

From base camp we then did several ascents on lower peaks to favour our acclimatization. Bad weather and snow seem to want to stop us from continuing our challenge and conquering the Gasherbrum 2, until finally on the 18th, 19th and 20th of July the weather forecast looks promising.

On the 18th the weather looks good and were off! We re-climbed the lines that we previously fixed on the pillar until we reached our tent on the plateau. The next day at 4 am we set off to challenge this most difficult and dangerous wall. We started with great difficulty beating a track, often sinking until our thighs into the fresh snow which had fallen over the last few days. We attack the wall to the left of the edge where the slope is more gradual, continuing with the gradient getting steadily greater and greater  (approx: 55°). We make it to about 7000 meters where we stop at an interruption in the line of snow which drops vertically from the wall. We had do dig to create a small space for our tent on this immense and exposed wall. We need our tent to rest for a few hours and regenerate ourselves for the next day.

On the 20th we had planned to get off early but the continuous gusts of wind and the sky unexpectedly overcast make us wait, it would be too dangerous to continue. Finally at 9 am a first sun ray breaks trough the clouds. From here the climb gets steeper still and we continue slowly to the altitude of 7600 meters  where we get to a huge belt which separates G2 from G3. From here it is clear that we are over the most difficult part of the Gasherbrum 2.  After 11 hours of continuous climb we finally make it to the peak. YES !!! It’s 20.00 Chinese time and 17.00 Pakistani time.

Soon after we are ready to descend the Pakistani side, first via the north west crest to meet Michele who had been left slightly behind due to health problems, then together we continue in the dark. At 7100 meters we decide it’s time to bed down for the night. Finally on the 21st July, close to exhaustion we make it to the Pakistani base camp where our Italian friends give us a warm welcome.



Val Gardena