Chogolisa: The doomed bride of Karakorum
The first attempts
The Italian Duke of the Abruzzi was close to the first summit already in 1909, but bad weather pushed him and his huge expedition back from the mountain. In fact, nobody seemed to get near Chogolisa for decades.
Chogolisa’s steep flanks demand rather technical climbing and an alpine, fast ascent. She “killed” the first man determined to step on her summit. He was no other than Austrian ace climber Hermann Buhl, who only four years earlier had made the first summit of Nanga Parbat after an epic, solitary climb. The same climber who, just weeks before, had made the world’s first ascent of Broad Peak.
A climb in a revolutionary way; they called it alpine style
Buhl attempted the peak with a very young Kurt Diemberger. The plan was to attempt the peak in a revolutionary way for a Karakorum Giant; they called it alpine style. No fixed camps, all in one go. It was hard but fast: they would be able to summit in three days, instead of taking at least three weeks.
They left camp I on June 25, and camped in a saddle at 6,706m on the SW ridge. The next morning - June 27 - they launched their summit push but, once on the ridge, the sunny morning rapidly changed into high winds and a white out. Retreat was the only option, so they turned around.
Tracks disappearing from the edge
Kurt was leading the way on their way back, until he became worried. Hermann was not behind. Kurt waited for quite a long time before turning around and heading back up to look for his mate. What he saw, on the corniced summit ridge, were Buhl’s tracks disappearing from the edge, out into the void. The cornice had crumbled down under his weight. Diemberger took a picture of it, which has become famous, and resumed the descent in deep shock. Buhl´s body was never recovered. He was 33 years old.
Chogolisa’s double summit wouldn’t remain untouched for long, but the mountain kept being isolated and scarcely visited. The rare teams who dared were mostly rejected by storms and high winds, and the spell of a legend, the image of a line of tracks disappearing over the edge.
Chogolisa (or Bride Peak) is a mountain at 35° 07' N 76° 35' E in Karakorum ( Pakistan). Chogolisa has several peaks, the highest on the SW face (Chogolisa I) rises to 7,665 metres (25,147 ft.).
Further information at: http://www.k2climb.net/story/stories/ChogolisaThedoomedbrideofKarakorumOct172004.shtml