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Renato Casarotto remains found at the foot of the Magic Line on K2

Posted: Jul 22, 2004 04:00 am EDT

The Magic Line team is ready to attempt their route as soon as the weather allows. Meanwhile, theyve been hanging around BC. Hiking around on the Phillipo Glacier, Oscar Cadiach came across the remains of Renato Casarotto, a legendary climber who took part on Messners expedition to the same magic Line and, not sharing Messners opinion about the route being suicidal came back in 1986 to attempt it solo. He never returned. The team describes the encounter in their latest dispatch:

Today we dont want to talk about our expedition, but of a great alpinist who in 1986 attempted the same route we are climbing now, the Magic Line to K2. His name was Renato Casarotto. He was one of the greatest climbers of the 80s, partner of Reinhold Messner and an elite Italian climber.

He stood out as a solo climber on highly difficult routes in the Himalayas, Gasherbrums and Broad Peak North. He also solo climbed new routes on the Patagonian Fitz Roy (Pilar Goretta), on the Peruvian Huascarán North (Casarotto route) and Alaskan Denali, as well as impressive routes in the Alps. He has become a point of reference for most European climbers.

In 1986 he launched his most ambitious project: attempting the Magic Line route to K2 solo. He would reach 8200m high, twice. Almost reaching BC coming back from one of his summit bids, he fell into a crevasse on Phillipo Glacier. Even though he managed to contact his girlfriend, who was in BC, the rescue party came too late. Two Italian climbers ran to get him out of the crevasse, but they could do nothing to save his life. Renato expired in their arms a few minutes afterwards.

The Italians decided to leave his body in the bottom of a deep crevasse, at the foot of his dream mountain.

Yesterday Oscar Cadiach was wandering around Fillipo glacier when he found Casarottos remains. After 18 years, the ever moving masses of ice of the glacier have churned up part of the body of this great climber. Some other remains were found and buried by Kazakh climbers last year.

Today we have discretely moved the remains to Casarottos memorial, where climbers pay homage to those who lost their lives on this mountain.

We have followed the will of Renatos fiancée, Goretta. She is coming to K2 BC, so we will be able to give her his personal belongings we found on the glacier.

The South West Pillar of K2, dubbed "The Magic Line" in a widely publicized pre-expedition tour. Reinhold Messner took one look at this route in 1979, called it "suicidal", and switched to the normal Abruzzi route. It was climbed in 1986 by a Polish team, and is still the hallmark of "suicidal" excellence, with exceptionally hard, steep sections of icy rock at very high altitudes.

The head of the current "Tarragona Magic Line Expedition 2004" is Oscar Cadiach, who has done 5 expeditions to Everest, 2 of which reached the summit. Cadiach has climbed Nanga Parbat, and opened the route 'Free Tibet' on Cho Oyu and a new route on Broad Peak central. He has also climbed Shisha Pagma, Makalu and Lhotse.

Team members also include Manel de la Matta has climbed Cho Oyu and Shisha Pagma. Jordi Tosas descended Cho Oyu on a snowboard. Jordi Corominas has climbed Daulagiri alone. And Valentí Giró.

Images of the Magic Line team transporting Casarotto remains, and Renatos memorial at the foot of K2, Copyright K2 Magic Line 2004 Expedition.