New Broad Peak Book Shines Light on First Ascent
One of the most impressive Himalayan ascents of the last century was Austrian party of Marcus Schmuck, Fritz Wintersteller, Kurt Diemberger and Hermann Buhl’s 1957 first ascent of Pakistan’s 8,047 m Broad Peak. This was achieved by a small team without artificial oxygen who ferried all the loads to the high camps. The trip ended with the tragic death of top Austrian climber Hermann Buhl, who fell through a cornice during a reconnaissance of Chogolisa.
Now, a book by Richard Sale, Broad Peak (Carreg, 2004) discusses the dynamics between the climbers themselves and the effect of Buhl’s death on the way the trip has been reported. In the past, the roles of the massively strong Schmuck and the talented Wintersteller have been downplayed, even though they performed brilliantly as a team and made the first ascent of the peak.
Another little recognized aspect of such trips is the role played by liaison officers. On the 1957 expedition, a dashing young Pakistani infantry officer, Quader Saeed was the liaison officer. Saeed emigrated to Toronto in 1971 and now runs a grocery store there.
Saeed instantly liked the climbers, an impression made stronger when Buhl had a pair of boots flown to Rawalpindi from Austria because the expedition had none that fit him. Saeed saved the men from difficulties on several occasions. “I had to explain to them that we were five men and that there were forty porters and we were a long way from any help. They demanded sunglasses, and one of the climbers said, ‘be tough, tell them no.’ Instead, I asked the porters why they needed these glasses now, when they had never needed them before, in all their travels in exactly the same areas. We had to pay them for the glasses, but avoided a conflict.”
Saeed was devastated by the death of Buhl, and tears still come to his eyes when he describes Diemberger coming to the camp with the news. Saeed stays in touch with Schmuck and Wintersteller and visits their homes in Austria every few years. He has two photographs of himself and Schmuck climbing on Broad Peak on the wall of his store and follows the climbing news about Broad Peak. Saeed greeted Sales’ book enthusiastically because, according to him, it is the first book to set the record straight about one of the most impressive ascents in Pakistan’s history and one of his most treasured memories
Autor: Gripped Climbing Magazine
Further information at: http://www.gripped.com