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Pakistan climbing: Mortenson back at work, Mazeno team in BC, search for clues on G1

Posted: Jun 16, 2012 02:15 pm EDT

(Newsdesk) Pakistan climbing season is slowly unfolding. The Mazeno ridge team has reached BC on Nanga Parbat (check streams). Word is that there's issue with American visas to the country, if you have any info on what's going on please email newsdesk. In Skardu meantime, two days ago fate connected two of this year's biggest Himalaya stories.

It still remains a mystery what happened to the three perished climbers on Gasherbrum 1 this winter. A search flight up to 7000 meters across the area climbed by Gerfried Goeschl, Cedric Hahlen, and Nissar (Hussain) Sadpara on March 8 rendered no trace. Leader for the Polish team Artur Hajzer said the men might have got trapped on a plateau leading to the summit.

Meanwhile in the United States, Greg Mortenson was about to be be tried on claims that he exaggerated his story and embezzled money from his $23 million Central Asia Institute set up to build schools for girls in Pakistan. The story was carried by Jon Krakauer, author of Everest Into Thin Air, and Greg's former board member Tom Hornbein (Everest Hornbein couloir).

Last week, en route to climb Gasherbrum 1 and see if he can find out what happened to his climbing mate Gerfried, Louis Rousseau was about to start the trek to Askole from Skardu, when Greg Mortenson showed up.

With him a 5 year old local girl, to be checked by Louis Rousseau's expedition doctor Annalisa. The encounter reminds that also Gerfried Goeschl was deeply involved in Pakistan aid, latest during the floods in 2010.

Since a failed K2 attempt, American climber Greg Mortenson has spent most of his life building schools in Pakistan. In areas where many women are still wrapped in black behind shut doors, Greg dared the unthinkable: he built schools for girls. The charity was popular and successful, even more so after the release of a best selling book about it.

Tipped off by Greg's board member Tom Hornbein (Everest Hornbein couloir), in spring 2011 American Jon Krakauer of Everest Into Thin Air fame alleged that Greg exaggerated his story and embezzled money from his foundation.

Krakauer released a digital book teaser on Amazon and appeared in a popular investigative TV show calling Mortenson's work "a beautiful story, but a lie." The attacks took place as Mortenson was scheduled to undergo open-heart surgery. Soon after, some individuals filed for investigations.

The investigation found that CAI's mission is good and its financial situation is strong. CAI took in $72 million in donations from 2003-2011 and still has more than $23 million in reserves. A Montana attorney general found no criminal wrongdoing but said Mortenson had little aptitude for record keeping or personnel management, and Greg was ordered to reimburse CAI $980,000 over three years. Shortly after, on April 30 a federal judge dismissed a separate class-action lawsuit against Greg Mortenson as "imprecise, flimsy and speculative.”

"Our dual mission continues unabated,” commented Anne Beyersdorfer, the charity’s interim executive director, and Greg returned to Pakistan.

Austrian Gerfried Göschl (39) had been studying a new line on the south face of Gasherbrum I for eight years and was positive it is the most direct route between BC and summit. The climber described the line as technical and demanding up to 6800 meters. "Upon reaching a ridge, we'll have to down climb some meters, but not too much," Gerfried told ExplorersWeb, anticipating the route to get easier in the upper sections. The climbers planned to traverse down to the north side of the mountain and descend via the normal route.

The trio was last in contact from their bivy tent at 7,000m 3:00am, local time March 7, "It's freezing cold and visibility is poor but, luckily, wind has dropped," Gerfried stated over the sat phone about the final summit push. They were last spotted by the Polish summiteers from the top early morning local time on March 8, approaching on the ridge via their new route on the south side.

Gerfried Göschl had initiated, organized and led several big expeditions for the Austrian Alpine Club (OeAV). Through autumn 2010 (floods), he collected more than €20,000 for his family's relief organization in Pakistan's Northen areas near Besham, together with his father Rainer Göschl and climbing mates Günther Unterberger, Hans Goger and brother Rainer Wolfgang Göschl.

Göschl's climbing mate, North Face field athlete Louis Rousseau from Quebec had joined Gerfried's first attempt to winter climb Gasherbrum 1. He came with Gerfried for a summer recon climb on G2 last year but stayed home this winter for personal reasons.

Louis summited Broad Peak 8,051 m and climbed until 7,300 m on K2 in 2007. In 2009, he climbed a new route on Nanga Parbat 8,125 m (first Canadian summit) and made two attempts on K2 (7,800 m and 8,360 m) during the same season. In 2011, he tried Gasherbrum 1 8,080 m by a new route on the south face (first winter attempt of the mountain) and then climbed Gasherbrum II 8,035 m.

Newsbreak: Lawsuit against ‘Three Cups’ author Greg Mortenson dismissed

Winter GI commentary: ExWeb interview with Louis Rousseau, "It’s a mixed challenge of survival and mountaineering"

http://www.explorersweb.com/everest_k2/news.php?id=20607" target="_new">Interview final with Louis Rousseau: "K2 in winter still remains a challenge” (Andrzej Zawada)

Gerfried Goschl, live from winter GI: This project is way too serious to play around with

GI rescue effort: Shaheen and Abbas in C1, details on route and climbers, word from BC

Sad news from GI: Choppers find no trace, rescue attempt is over

Editorial: the price of knowing great men
#World #Mountaineering #topstory

Greg Mortenson brought a 5 year old girl (with her father) to be checked by Louis Rousseau's expedition doctor Annalisa.
Image by Louis Rousseau courtesy Louis Rousseau, SOURCE
Annalisa found the girl may have a valve disorder.
Image by Louis Rousseau courtesy Louis Rousseau, SOURCE
Louis stuffing his face before high altitude with a Pakistani Egg Muffin Special.
Image by Louis Rousseau courtesy Louis Rousseau, SOURCE
G1 in winter 2011. LtR: Louis Rousseau (Canada), Gerfried Goschl (Austria), and Alex Txikon (Spain).
courtesy Louis Rousseau, SOURCE