Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Shining Mountain her I come!

Gasherbrum IV or G4 is one of the coolest mountains on the planet. It was first climbed in 1958 by the legendary Italian alpinist Walter Bonatti. Since then the true summit has only been reached about 4 or 5 times. I'm not quite sure of the number of accents and different sources say different things but one thing is for sure its a big undertaking and it will not be easy to be the first expedition in the new millennium to set foot on the summit. Several expeditions have been successful in climbing some extremely prominent lines on G4 with out actually reaching the true summit and I think it would be ignorant not to mention the West Face route climbed by Robert Schauer and Wojciech Kurtyka in 1985 (in alpine style) .

I don't know the number of expeditions that have been trying to do new routes or repeat routes on G4 but I think a fair estimate is in excess of 30 expeditions so the hit rate is not that great but that's kind of why its interesting. If we fail we will be in good company, House and Cave are just two who have tried G4 with out any luck so I have no illusions of this being a walk in the park.

The Virgin East Face

We will attempt the unclimbed East Face in alpine style. The East Face is a relatively short face and route will "only" be about 1000 vertical meters of climbing. From pictures it looks like the end of the first third will offer some delicate mixed climbing and possibly quite steep. Then the exit of the face looks thin and steep. The strategy is to climb in teams of three so the leader can climb with a ultra light pack. We will climb from 7000 meters in a ultra light style using only the bare minimum of equipment.

The hard part will be to get well established at the bottom of the face. Its a long slog from about 5000 meters to 7000 meters. So in reality we need a well stocked camp at 7000 meters in order to be at the right spot at the right time. Timing will be every thing. The equation is complex, we have to be at 7000 when the forecast is good, the team is in shape and the face in condition. Obviously quite a lot of room for unexpected events...

This is an international expedition and we will announce the participants as well as our sponsors with in the following weeks.

We will broadcast live dispatches from the expedition and hopefully from the actual summit attempt. This blog will also publish live messages. But the official expedition site will be the main information source.