Broad Peak: Exclusive Report from Camp 3

Dangerous conditions forced back a handful of climbers attempting to summit Broad Peak. Many of them had been on the previous push, complicated by several rescues and lines at the ropes at 8,000m.

This time, the threat of avalanches was too high, according to Saulius Damulevicius. The Lithuanian climber has summarized events for ExplorersWeb, straight from his tent in Camp 3.

Damulevicius at Camp 3. Photo: Saulius Damulevicius


“[Israfil Ashurli and I] started at 7 pm yesterday with Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin, and we were later joined by other members, around 20 people total,” Damulevicius said. “I was working in front for most of the time, later joined by Fotis Theocharis of Greece, who was climbing with oxygen.”

“Above Camp 4 (7,350m) the ropes were buried under the snow. We tried to drag them out for some time but they got buried deeper.

Avalanche risk too high

“Before the snow wall [an increasingly steep snow ramp before the saddle] at 7,550m, the avalanche conditions on the slope were too dangerous to continue. The slope cracked under my weight, it only needed a trigger to go down. We made several tests on the slope and found that there is a 5 to 10cm layer of iced up snow on an unstable 30 to 50cm of powder.

“We realized that the conditions would be even more dangerous on the way down, so we decided to retreat and suggested that others do the same. Everyone agreed.”

Israfil Ashurli at Camp 3 on Broad Peak. Photo: Saulius Damulevicius


The climbers turned around at 1:30 am and made it safely back to Camp 3 at around 4 am.

“My highest point was 7,500m,” Damulevicius noted. “On my previous attempt on Broad Peak, I reached 7,965m. On that occasion, it was too late to continue pushing for the summit within a minimum margin of safety.”

By now, all climbers should be about to reach Base Camp, except for Damulevicius and Ashurli, who have decided to stay at Camp 3 for one more night. “There is very little chance that the route conditions will improve dramatically. So, we’ll rest now in Camp 3 and go back to Base Camp tomorrow morning,” he said.

The view from the tent at Camp 3. Photo: Saulius Damulevicius