First Ascent: Gasherbrum East North Face

By Dougald MacDonald ,

A Swiss-led international expedition has climbed a new route up the north side of 25,499-foot Gasherbrum East, along the China-Pakistan border in the Karakoram Range. The team had hoped to climb a direct line to the summit of 26,360-foot Gasherbrum II, but severe avalanche danger led them to switch objectives. Cedric Hälen, Johannes Mitterer, and Ueli Steck plowed through deep snow to reach the summit of Gasherbrum East on July 10. The team climbed the 11,000-vertical-foot route, the Magic Way, in modified expedition style, with about 3,500 feet of fixed rope up to 20,700 feet.

See photos and an expedition diary (in German) at on this story

The line of the Magic Way (red) on Gasherbrum East and the proposed direct line on Gasherbrum II (yellow).

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