Spanish climber helped down after falling on Gasherbrum II: Krzysztof Wielicki's report

Spanish climber helped down after falling on Gasherbrum II: Krzysztof Wielicki's report

Posted: Jul 27, 2006 03:21 pm EDT

( / Madrid) Yesterday some concerning news reached ExplorersWeb from Gasherbrum II. Members in the Polish Playground Friends team reported on a Spanish climber from Mayencos expedition taking a fall on the way down after summiting on Tuesday.<cutoff>

<b>Contradictory statements</b>

This Spanish team comprises members from Mayencos Mountain Club bases in the town of Jaca (northern Spain), and members of the Spanish Armys High Mountain Corps.

In a phone call with ExplorersWeb, a Mayencos club spokesman quoted Military sources, which stated all team members were doing well, with one of them already in BC and the other three descending at a slower pace. However, Mayencos Mountain Club president had told local media earlier that day, that three out of the four summiteers in the team had forced a bivouac on the upper slopes on GII after topping out.

Today, the Polish Playground Friends expedition leader Krzysztof Wielicki (all 14 8000ers, plus the first winter ascents of Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse) sent a detailed report on the events taking place on GII. Turns out one of the Spanish climbers took a fall and was rescued at 7600 meters by a small team including a Spanish fellow climber; Krzysztof; and American Mike Farris with a friend who halted their summit push to help out. Here goes Wielicki's debrief:

<b>A growing group on the summit bid</b>

We left BC for C1, and reached C3 at approx. 7000m the next day. On July 25th around midnight we (Fronia, Jucha, Podsiadlo and me) set off from the camp towards the summit, planning to skip C4. Janusz Majer, Agnieszka Adamowska and Zbigniew Zimniewicz were waiting for us in C4, ready to join us in our push for the summit. We reached C4 at 7400m at about 3 am.

It was a little windy and freezing cold. Janusz and Agnieszka returned to the tent. As they were the least acclimatized in the team, I discouraged them from risking a summit bid. Zbigniew Zimniewicz, who wasn't well acclimatized either, was ready to go and insisted on joining the team."

"Four Spanish climbers from a military expedition were attempting the summit that same day, leaving C3 one hour before us. Thus there were nine of us altogether."

<b>Wielicki last in line on descent - for safety</b>

"Rafal Fronia summitted first - in only 7,5 hours! Robert and I got there an hour later, followed shortly by Pawel Podsiadlo. Zbyszek Zimniewicz summited one hour after Pawel. We enjoyed the gorgeous views, shot some pictures and started descending. By then Janusz and Agnieszka had already climbed down to C3."

"For safety reasons I went last in line, monitoring the weaker Zbyszek. One of the Spaniards was also going weak, possibly exhausted but also (I think) lacking technical skills. At the last traverse across the summit wall, while descending, I saw the Spaniard fall and slide down about 100m. Luckily, he stopped in a basin because further down there was only...China."

<b>Emergency measures - set up a bivouac</b>

"My companions had already descended; only one of the Spanish climbers was present waiting for his friend below - on the border of visibility. I stayed, too. Having examined the Spaniard I decided his condition was serious. We wanted him to stand up and move but he wasnt too keen. His neck and head hurt. Then American Mike Farris reached us - he was on his summit bid with another climber, but stopped to help, and we together tried our best to help to the Spaniard. We were at about 7600m."

"I got in touch with my team, who had already reached C4. Two climbers from the Spanish summit team were also there. I suggested they take our tent, sleeping bag, gas, stoves, and food, and bring everything up to 7600m so that the injured climber could survive the night and be helped down in the morning the Spanish team had no camp or gear in C4."

"I also asked our doctor - summiteer Pawel Podsiadlo to climb back up and assist the injured Spaniard. Pawel tried but unfortunately, he soon proved too exhausted to reach the injured."

<b>Rescue underway</b>

"The Spanish doctor took over the supervision of the emergency rescue from camp 1, immediately passing essential medicines up the mountain. When Mike and myself were sure that a rescue team of HAPs and Spanish climbers was on the way up, and that we couldnt do anything else we left the injured under control of his Spanish partner and departed: I went down, Mike proceeded up. At C4 I met one Spaniard climbing up with our equipment towards the injured."

"Today the injured Spaniard has been reported to be on his way below C4 and everything should end well. HAPs assisted him, and he could walk by his own means."

"Mountains are unpredictable but this accident made me realize once more that fashionable summit pushes without proper acclimatization can have very negative results.

Krzysztof Wielicki

<i>A report is yet expected from Spanish Mayencos team. According to Mayencos Mountain Club spokesman, families were kept informed. Reports in local press inform of all members having reached BC today, but there is no mention of the incident.

Krzysztof Wielicki is co-leader of the large Playground Friends Polish team on GII. The veteran ace climber has summited all 14 8000ers, including doing the first winter ascents on Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse. A large number of team members summited earlier this week.

Alberto Ayora is the leader of the 10-member strong Spanish team on Gasherbrum II. The expedition commemorates Mayencos Mountain Clubs 50th anniversary. Among the team members are 4 climbers from the Spanish High Mountain Military corps.

#Mountaineering #feature

The veteran ace climber has summited all 14 8000ers, including the first winter ascents on Everest and Kangchenjunga. "Mountains are unpredictable but this accident made me realize once more that fashionable summit pushes without proper acclimatization can have very negative results," Krzysztof Wielicki said. Image of the Polish climber courtesy of
Mayencos Spanish team had set a C3, but had no C4. They borrowed a tent and gear from the Polish team in order to set a vibouac for the injured climber and two team mates, according to Wielicki. Image of Spanish team members in C3 courtesy of Mayencos GII expedition (click to enlarge).