Gasherbrum 2 is certainly one the most attainable of the high peaks, and is a great choice for a first time 8000m attempt. FTA has guided on G II 3 times and we are excited to go back in 2012!
Altitude: 8,032M/26,350ft Location: Karakorum, Pakistan
Dates:June 10 to July 31, 2013 & 2014
USD$11,250 in 2013
2650usd to add GI option
BC services only USD$7750
Extensions to G1 and K2 available.
Base camp support, helicopter, medical and approach support (with or without permit inclusion) is also available as a separate option for experienced (only) independent teams – please contact us for details.
All services Islamabad – Islamabad
12 per expedition
Our expedition will be modeled on six consecutive and successful seasons climbing 8000m peaks in the Karakorum, and is open to all climbers looking to join a cost effective but well organized and resourced team.
To be an eligible member on this expedition you must be very competent, and posses the necessary stamina and experience to be a contributing player in the ascent. Gasherbrum II is part of the greater Gasherbrum group of 5 peaks, 2 of which soar over 8000m, and is the world’s 13th highest peak. She is roundly held as one of the most straightforward and accessible of the fourteen, and climbers on her normal route, if sufficiently resourced and prepared, enjoy good summit rates in clement weather.
Gasherbrum II: The South West Ridge Route
The climbing legs on Gasherbrum II certainly favor mountaineers attempting their first big peak. Her slopes are not as steep as nearby Broad Peak, or as technical or mixed as her neighbor Gasherbrum 1. There are few objective dangers, and the camp sites are placed in mostly flat sections.
Base Ice fall 3500m
To get to the base of the route on G2 all teams first traverse the small icefall outside of base camp. As is typical on such climbs, the route through is maintained via a collaborative effort by several expeditions at the hill. The route through is fixed wherever necessary and is clearly marked with wands. The icefall is not particularly unstable or unsafe, though there are a couple of steep sections to be negotiated. C1 is set up very close to the base of the SW ridge, at just under 5900m. The normal traverse time is around 7 hours, but this decreases as we adapt to the new heights and can be cut in half by the time you make your last trip through.
Base Camp 5300m – Camp 1 5850M (ABC)
It’s best to leave base camp around 2pm the first time. Try to get up to camp 1 and drop some loads, hang out and enjoy the awesome place, set up some tents and come back to base camp or stay for the night. This is a really long day for some; 6km across the glacier.
Camp 1 – Camp 2 6200m
Rope up and head towards Gasherbrum 1. Some fixed lines, some unroped climbing on steep snow slopes. Climb up the snow slope onto the Banana Ridge. Climb the Banana Ridge to the false summit and onto camp 2. Try to avoid the heat of the afternoon sun & climb in the evenings if possible.
Camp 2 – Camp 3 7000m
Climb upwards toward the summit. Be prepared for non stop 60-90 degree ice all the way to camp 3. No breaks. It’s really challenging at nearly 7000m so be ready. You might have to dig out tent platforms at camp 3 so think about that.
One of the great advantages of climbing the SW ridge is that it’s very hard to get lost or off trail, even in inclement weather. The ridge is very clearly defined and maintains a fairly consistent angle. Occasionally the route swings to the right and on to the large snow face to avoid small ice bands and crevasses. The first sections of the ridge up to C2 are the steepest, and are fixed with rope, as are some sections above C2. camp 2 itself is placed on a large sheltered platform at 6400m.
Climbing times between all 3 camp sites are a very manageable 3-4 hours on average.
Camp 3 is sited just above and to the right of the top of the ridge, again in a relatively well sheltered space, at just under 7000m. Above our tents loom the impressive rock pyramid leading to the summit. Typically climbers can expect to make 2-4 climbs to 2, and 1-2 to C3.
Camp 3 – Summit (8032m) The traverse and summit ridge
There is a height gain of around 500m from Camp 3 to the start of the summit ridge, it is a long traverse that can take up to 4 hours to complete at this altitude, but is more diagonal than steep. The route then swings back to the delightfully exposed but technically straightforward East Ridge. It is at this Point that the expansive view from the other side of the mountain unfolds.
The last obstacle, lying at the end of the ridge, is a short steep section of about a ropes length.
Field Touring guide Ray Brown climbed the section C3 –to summit – and back to C3 in under 9 hours in average snow conditions, but many climbers can take 10-15 hours for a round day trip.
Getting off in a hurry
Its possible to make speedy descents of the ridge in the event of bad weather appearing suddenly, thanks due to its straightforward nature and plethora of fixed ropes. For this reason many climbers ascend her routinely without oxygen or heavy stocking of camp sites. Our expedition will benefit from radioed weather forecasts, and does intend on establishing multiple camp sites. There does however remain the logistical flexibility for experienced climbers to attempt her in a more alpine style manner.
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