Simone Moro Expedition Ends in Near-Fatal Crevasse Fall

Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger amid crevasses on Gasherbrum I. Photo: The Vertical Eye/Matteo Pavana

The Gasherbrum Glacier has just ended Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger’s expedition, and it almost ended Moro’s life. The couple had a close call with an avalanche last week, but this time, the Italian winter maestro only survived thanks to his partner’s quick reaction.

Yesterday, the pair roped up and set off toward Camp 1 for two nights. “We were finally out of the icefall, we had passed the last big crevasse and proceeded to the summit plateau,” Moro wrote. They were in high spirits after presumably finishing the hardest part of their route.

Then it happened. Lunger crossed a small crevasse first, belayed by her partner until about 20m beyond the crack. Then, as Moro prepared to cross, the ground opened up beneath his feet and he disappeared.

The violent jerk of Moro’s 90 kilos tore Lunger from her feet and brought her to the edge of the crack, the rope wrapped around her hand, which bore much of the weight.  Moro fell upside-down for 20m, banging his legs and rear on the blades of ice suspended in the “endless gut” of the crevasse, as he put it.

Lunger’s hand burned from the friction and weight. She had a hard time staying her ground because she was on snowshoes rather than crampons. Luckily, Moro began to fight his way out once he stopped falling. “With one hand, I managed to put a very precarious first anchor and…I had the lucidity to take the ice screw I had in my harness and secure it in the smooth, hard [ice],” he wrote. “That screw stopped me from slipping and probably pulling Tamara down into the crevasse.”

Almost two excruciating hours later, Moro managed to climb out of the 50cm-wide but otherwise near-bottomless crevasse. “While I was climbing, Tamara, crying with pain, managed to organize a nice [anchor] to secure me while I was climbing the 20 endless metres of smooth ice.”

Somehow, they had the energy to make it back to Base Camp that night. In the morning, Moro arranged an aerial evacuation and medical checks for both of them. This means, sadly, that their expedition is over, almost before their climb on winter Gasherbrum I has begun.

About the Author

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides

Sport journalist, published author and communication consultant. Feeling back home at ExplorersWeb after five years exploring distant professional ranges. From Dec19 to Feb20, I'll be also working as press manager for Alex Txikon's expeditions to Antarctica, winter Ama Dablam and winter Everest.

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9 Comments on "Simone Moro Expedition Ends in Near-Fatal Crevasse Fall"

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Asghar Ali Porik
Guest

Thanks God both are safe, 18th January they had this accident, 19th January they were brought down by helicopters with all 4 members in Skardu. The base camp team including Army Liaison Officer and staff will take 4 to 5 days to reach skardu

Andrei C
Guest

Live to fight another day.

Vladi
Guest

Very glad the fall ended in a good way. Winter expeditions are really hit and miss and even the best preparations cannot influence the successful ascent much, its all about weather.

Ande Rychter
Guest

Far from it. Think crevasses, avalanches, rockfalls, and collapsing séracs, among the objective dangers.

Ande Rychter
Guest

Moro’s 20 m fall suggests poor glacier travel technique.

Ronald
Guest

I dont know squad about Climbing mountains, not more than what i read anyway, but a person who has several first winter summits (Simone Moro), probably knows a lot more about high altitude mountaineering than we can imagine. Even the best mountaineers can fall due to several circumstances. This was bad luck. Give the man a break.

Jennifer M Levine
Guest

I think the proper ending should have been GRATEFULLY, THEY BOTH GOT BACK THROUGH THE ICEFALL ALIVE AND WILL HAPPILY SPEND THE REST OF THEIR LIVES,,,,,ALIVE!!!

Mick
Guest
I think what they’ve just been through is obviousky the direct consequences of the ice melting a lot last August on the ice fall. It looks that despite the favorable winter weather the past weeks, the thin crust of ice and snow could not recover all the extent of glacier melting. I was there last summer, ice fall in July was good and “easy” but it worsened a lot later. Part of the reasons is likely due to global warming, I’ve only said a part of it because there so many other indirect reasons. It’d be good actually to compare… Read more »
Peter Sisinni
Guest

Good they are both back safe.