Broad Peak: Another Climber Sacrifices His Summit To Help

Last weekend we wondered about the identity of the climber who shared the summit push with Horia Colibasanu on Broad Peak. His name is Lukas Woerle of Austria. The two met in Base Camp and since both climbed independently, without O2 or sherpa support, they decided to join forces. The only difference in their plans was that the Austrian hoped to paraglide from the 8,051m summit.

But while Colibsasanu summited Broad Peak on July 15, Woerle returned to Base Camp with a very different experience.

Horia Colibasanu (left) and Lukas Woerle in a tent

Horia Colibasanu (left) and Lukas Woerle in Camp 3 before their final summit push on Broad Peak. Photo: Horia Colibasanu


A cry for help

On the way to the summit, while he was on the long summit ridge after Broad Peak Col, Colibasanu left the trail. He passed a group of climbers on O2 who were clipped to the fixed ropes. Eventually, Colibasanu continued without any rope.

Woerle, climbing 15 minutes behind, stayed on the trail, where he noticed someone crying for help.

“On the summit ridge, I found a Pakistani HAP [high-altitude porter] lying in the snow,” Woerle told ExplorersWeb. “It was not possible to communicate properly with him, so I started dragging and pushing him back down.”

IG story on a photo of the climber on a snowy ridge, an air-trimming mask on her face.

Lukas Woerle/Instagram


“Halfway down, I met Dan [Buonome], an American climber who helped me give that person medicine and oxygen.”

Woerle told us that the oxygen came from another HAP who was waiting for his clients near Broad Peak Col.

Woerle and Buonome managed to get the sick porter back to Camp 3, where someone else took over. Still, the task took them most of the day and, admitted Woerle, all his strength.

“I radioed BC, reporting on a sick person between 10:00 and 10:30 am, and arrived together with the porter in Camp 3 between 18:45 and 19:00,” he said.

The Austrian climber finally descended with Colibasanu the following day in the rain. They reached Base Camp at 6 pm.

Lukas Woerle, Horia Colibasanu, and the rest of the Woerle family

Lukas Woerle, Horia Colibasanu, and Woerle’s visiting father and brother as the climbers returned to Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Horia Colibasanu/Facebook


Woerle said that they had problems finding Camp 3 in the fog. Luckily, his Base Camp team (Woerle’s father and brother) asked for help from guide Stefan Fritsche. He found them at 7,100m and led them to the tents. “Otherwise, no one else helped,” Woerle said.

In addition to Colibasanu, at least two other teams summited Broad Peak on July 15, at around 1:30 pm: Mexicans Max Alvarez and Sebastian Arizpe. A Seven Summit Treks team with Oswaldo Freire of Ecuador, Sarah Marxer of Germany, Allie Pepper of Australia, Matteo Bonalumi of Italy, and Nepalis Lakpa Nurbu Sherpa, Dawa Sherpa, and Ngima Tashi Sherpa also summited.

Alli Pepper reported on social media that the weather was bad and the summit push took over 24 hours from Camp 3 and back. This was because the sherpa team fixed as they went until they ran out of rope. Pepper and possibly Freire climbed without oxygen.

HAP Murtaza to be airlifted

When he helped him down, Woerle didn’t know the name of the HAP or which team he worked for. However, the porter himself went to Woerle’s camp as we spoke to Woerle, to thank him. His name is Murtaza, Woerle said. He suffered some frostbite and will be airlifted to Skardu tomorrow.

Horia Colibasanu of Romania reached Base Camp yesterday at 6 pm. This morning, he had already begun to trek out and had reached Concordia by nightfall.

Meanwhile, Lukas Woerle hopes to get enough rest before the next weather window — supposedly July 18-21. Then he’ll again try to summit and paraglide from the top of Broad Peak.

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.