Search Called Off for Team on Gasherbrum I


3/21/12 - The search for the missing team on Gasherbrum I has been called off. Austrian Gerfried Göschl, Pakistani Nisar Hussain, and Swiss Cedric Hählen were attempting a new route on Gasherbrum I, aka Hidden Peak, via the south side, and had last been seen Friday, March 9, about 250 meters below the summit. Inclement weather had hampered any immediate helicopter searches.

Sadly, the search efforts have been called off for the team. According to a press release by the Alpine Club of Pakistan, a helicopter search was conducted on March 15. "No trace whatsoever of the missing mountaineers could be found on the mountain. After flying along all possible flanks, and failing to spot any sign, the pilots decided to finish their search mission.

"According to experienced mountaineers, it is presumed that the three climbers were probably blown off the sharp ridge near the summit by strong winds. It may be noted that the near vertical southern face of the mountain is thousands of metres deep and is located in the Chinese territory."

All three men were top-notch mountaineers. Nisar Hussain was one of three Pakistanis who had climbed all five 8,000-meter mountains in Pakistan, and without use of supplementary oxygen. He was the youngest Pakistani mountaineer to summit K2, in 2004. Göschl had climbed Shishapangma, Mt. Everest, Broad Peak, and Nanga Parbat. Hählen's résumé had included K2, Gasherbrum II, Broad Peak, and Kangchenjunga.

The day they were last seen, two Polish climbers, Adam Bielicki and Janusz Golab, made the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum I via the normal route on the peak's west and northwest side. This is only the second 8,000-meter Pakistan peak to be climbed in winter, after Gasherbrum II which was climbed by Simone Moro, Cory Richards, and Denis Urubko in winter 2011.

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