Friday, February 11, 2011

Climbers Make First Winter Ascent of Gasherbrum II


Another major event in the world of mountaineering went down while I was away in Africa, as climbers Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards completed the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II, the 13th highest peak in the world.

The team had been working the mountain for several weeks, but once prepared, they completed the climb in just three days. The trio finished their summit push on February 2nd, reaching the top of the 8035 meter (26,363 ft) mountain. While climbing any Himalayan peak in the winter is always a challenge, the descent wasn't all that easy either. The three men faced increasingly bad weather on the descent and according to the Outside Blog, the team was also hit by an avalanche on the way down, but managed to escape without any serious injuries. They returned to Base Camp last Friday, February 4th, bringing an end to a very successful expedition.

This winter ascent marks the first time that any of the five 8000 meter peaks located in Pakistan's Karaoram range has been climbed during the winter. GII is considered the easiest of those mountains to scale, with the other four, which includes Gasherbrum I and K2, ramping up significantly in challenge.

Congrats to Simone, Denis, and Cory on a job well done. Conquering any major peak in the winter is a significant accomplishment, but knocking off an 8-thousander in the coldest month of the year is impressive indeed. Well done chaps!

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