Simone Moro Expedition Ends in Near-Fatal Crevasse Fall

The Gasherbrum Glacier has just ended Simone Moro and Tamara Lunger’s expedition, and it almost ended Moro’s life. The couple had a close call with an avalanche last week, but this time, the Italian winter maestro only survived thanks to his partner’s quick reaction.

Yesterday, the pair roped up and set off toward Camp 1 for two nights. “We were finally out of the icefall, we had passed the last big crevasse and proceeded to the summit plateau,” Moro wrote. They were in high spirits after presumably finishing the hardest part of their route.

Then it happened. Lunger crossed a small crevasse first, belayed by her partner until about 20m beyond the crack. Then, as Moro prepared to cross, the ground opened up beneath his feet and he disappeared.

The violent jerk of Moro’s 90 kilos tore Lunger from her feet and brought her to the edge of the crack, the rope wrapped around her hand, which bore much of the weight.  Moro fell upside-down for 20m, banging his legs and rear on the blades of ice suspended in the “endless gut” of the crevasse, as he put it.

Lunger’s hand burned from the friction and weight. She had a hard time staying her ground because she was on snowshoes rather than crampons. Luckily, Moro began to fight his way out once he stopped falling. “With one hand, I managed to put a very precarious first anchor and…I had the lucidity to take the ice screw I had in my harness and secure it in the smooth, hard [ice],” he wrote. “That screw stopped me from slipping and probably pulling Tamara down into the crevasse.”

Almost two excruciating hours later, Moro managed to climb out of the 50cm-wide but otherwise near-bottomless crevasse. “While I was climbing, Tamara, crying with pain, managed to organize a nice [anchor] to secure me while I was climbing the 20 endless metres of smooth ice.”

Somehow, they had the energy to make it back to Base Camp that night. In the morning, Moro arranged an aerial evacuation and medical checks for both of them. This means, sadly, that their expedition is over, almost before their climb on winter Gasherbrum I has begun.