Last Man on Broad Peak on a Risky Summit Push

It’s like a teen horror movie from the ’90s, where the guy with glasses enters the abandoned house and opens the door leading up to the dark attic.

Trouble ahead.

After their failed summit push two days ago, all the climbers have returned to Base Camp or are almost there — except for Ignacio “Nacho” Lucero of Argentina. He was the last to reach Base Camp this season and seems determined to have his go, conditions be damned. Minutes ago, he messaged Akhbar Syed, who is managing his Base Camp logistics. “I am ready to go for the summit,” Lucero said.

High avalanche risk stopped climbers two days ago at 7,500m on Broad Peak. Photo: Israfil Ashurli


Serious avalanche risk

The participants on the July 26 summit push stopped at 7,500m because of high avalanche risk. Fotis Theocharis reported that their hearts skipped a beat when unstable snow settled beneath their feet with an ominous boom. He even saw the crack signaling that a snow slab was about to let go.

Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin, both expert skiers, dug a pit and found a large section of unstable snow under the hardened slab. It made them retreat on the spot and descend carefully, taking all possible precautions.

Vitaly Lazo and Anton Pugovkin test the snow at 7,500m on Broad Peak. Photo: Fotis Theocharis


Israfil Ashurli of Azerbaijan and Saulius Damulevicious of Lithuania, who remained in Camp 3 last night, were not about to try again “unless conditions change dramatically, and there is very little chance [of that],” Damulevicious told ExplorersWeb.

Yesterday, they thought that Lucero would go down with them. However, the Argentinean decided to stay. “He is alone in Camp 3 and told us that he will return on July 30,” Damulevicius said from Base Camp, which they reached earlier today.

An added problem for Lucero: Buried ropes in hardened, slabby snow two days ago. Photo: Fotis Theocharis


As for Lucero’s decision to start a lonely summit push, the Lithuanian climber considers it “very risky”. He adds: “We also do not know the route’s condition above that [dangerous section at 7,500m], especially the big crevasse area and the traverse toward the col.”

Ignacio Lucero and Oro. Photo: Roberto Ramasso


Ignacio Lucero summited Gasherbrum II in 2019, but he is best-known for the heart attack he suffered on Manaslu in 2011. He was rescued and taken to hospital, where his condition worsened after a stroke.

During his long recovery, he counted on the friendship of his dog Oro, meaning gold. Oro eventually became quite the character on Instagram, since he went virtually everywhere with his owner. Unfortunately, Oro died last year.