Masherbrum: Decision Time

Deep, loose snow has forced Marek Holecek and Radoslav Groh to fight for every metre of progress up Masherbrum’s West Face.

“Even a horse-drawn carriage would get tired of this terrain,” Holecek wrote yesterday.

Today marked their seventh bivouac on the Face. After battling a 70º snow ridge and constant avalanches, they now have less than 800m left of the 3,500m-high wall.

“In my eyes, this is still the distance to the nearest star for me,” Holecek admitted.

Even at their current snail’s pace, they might reach the top during the three remaining days of decent weather. But they will then face a stormy descent, as the weather sours around midweek.

Clouds cover the peaks at the feet of the climbers, while they are in a precarious bivouac.

Clouds cover the peaks below the climbers, seen from their precarious bivouac. Photo: Marek Holecek


Up or down? They will decide tomorrow.

“If the terrain is better, we will continue,” Holecek said.

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.