Hard Times, Close Call for Simone Moro

Yesterday, we reported that Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger have been enduring -30C temperatures on Gasherbrum I. The last 24 hours have been even harsher for the pair. The wind pounded Base Camp all night, keeping them awake and destroying the toilet and shower tent. The rest of the camp, sheltered in a deep depression on the glacier, held up.

Despite the bad weather, they tried to climb. The wind had erased all their tracks of the previous two weeks, forcing them to make a new trail. The new,  wind-driven snow settled under their feet with disconcerting WHUMPs. Then a big slab broke off above them and slid down, “stopping practically at my feet,” writes Moro. “Although not enormous in size, [it] could have been fatal.” The broken slab appears in the lead photo above.

At this point, they took the hint and retreated to Base Camp. “Winter is not a game for those who dare more but for those who have more patience and wisdom,” he said. “It’s not about being exposed to the cold for a few minutes a day but constantly…Those who have never tried can neither understand nor imagine.”

Moro is concerned about further snowfall if they continue up the glacier, where the avalanche risk is much greater. So their plan now is to wait for better, more stable weather.

Coincidentally, today marked the anniversary of the first winter ascent of Shishapangma, which he did back in 2005. The Italian has also climbed three other 8,000m peaks in winter.