|Masherbrum je 7821 metrov visok vrh v pogorju Karakorum (Pakistan). V času
geografskih meritev indijske podceline so mu zaradi izredne markantnosti
nadeli ime K1 (podobna imena je dobilo še več geografskih točk med
katerimi je najbolj poznan K2, vzhodno od Masherbruma). Njegova geografska
dolžina je 76°18' in geografska širina 35°39'. Gora ima še zahodni vrh
visok 7750 m in južni vrh visok 7806. Pogorje omejuje pet ledenikov: na
jugu ledenik Masherbrum, na zahodu ledenik Liligo, na severu ledenik Mandu,
na severovzhodu Yemanendu, na jugovzhodu pa ledenik Ghondogoro.
Masherbrum je najbolj pogosto viden z juga kjer zapira dolino Hushe ter s
severa kjer po ledeniku Baltoro poteka običajni dostop do večine
karakorumskih osemtisočakov. Z alpinističnega vidika spada Masherbrum med
zahtevnejše gore v pogorju Karakoruma.
Leta 1960 je prvi vzpon na Masherbrum opravila ameriška odprava. Pod
vodstvom Nicka Clincha so vrh dosegli 6. in 8. julija v dveh skupinah poleg
vodje še Bell, Unsoled in Pakistanec Akhter. Smer prvopristopnikov poteka
po nevarnih pobočjih jugovzhodne stene. Prvo ponovitev smeri so šele
avgusta leta 1983 opravili Japonci. Vrh sta dosegla Kakeyasu Minamura in
Na teme te zahtevne gore se je do zdaj povzpelo manj kot dvajset alpinistov, zadnji vzpon na vrh je bil opravljen zdaj že oddaljenega leta 1985. Od takrat se poskusi vzpona na vrh kar vrstijo.
Idejo za odpravo na Masherbrum, atraktiven vrh v osrednjem delu vzhodnega Karakoruma, sem v sebi gojil nekaj let. Z Američanom Stevom House-om sva se po lanski odpravi na Nuptse odločila, da letos poskusiva splezati na Masherbrum s severa. Po zaključeni ideji sta se nama z močno izraženim interesom pridružila še Matic Jošt in Britanec Jules Cartwright. Ekipa štirih motiviranih in izkušenih alpinistov si je obetala prilagodljivost in kar se da preprosto ter ekonomično organizacijo. V začetku marca, ko so bile organizacijske priprave v zaključni fazi, se je Jules odločil, da ne bo šel na odpravo.
Odpravo smo registrirali kot Slovensko. Politična situacija v tem delu sveta ni bila primerna za promocijo sodelovanja Američana na odpravi (Steve govori slovensko). Vsa komunikacija pred odhodom se je vršila prek telefona in elektronske pošte. Opravila pred odpravo smo si razdelili v sorazmernih deležih glede na posameznikove možnosti in sposobnosti. Tudi finančno breme smo nosili v treh enakih deležih. Stevu je uspelo od AAC (American Alpine Club) dobiti gotovinski kredit za primer helikopterskega reševanja v znesku 6000 ameriških dolarjev kar nam je prišlo zelo prav glede na visok gotovinski znesek.
Z namenom pridobitve informacij sva z Maticem tri dni pred odhodom v
Innsbrucku obiskala Roberta Renzlerja - vodjo uspešne avstrijske odprave.
Nekaj koristnih podatkov je posredoval, vendar je bila njegova izkušnja na
Masherbrumu okrašena z osemnajstimi leti časovne patine. To dejstvo smo
zares razumeli šele, ko smo si po prihodu v bazo ustvarili svoje videnje.
Osemnajstega maja smo v Islamabad, glavno mesto Pakistana, prispeli Američan Steve House ter Slovenca Matic Jošt (Alpinistični odsek Celje) in Marko Prezelj (Alpinistični odsek Kamnik). Želeli smo v alpskem stilu preplezati kombinirano severovzhodno ostenje Masherbruma. Stena je visoka prek 3000 metrov, največje težave pa so v njenem zgornjem delu. Najbolj mikaven je mogočen osrednji steber, ki je tako kot celotna stena, še nepreplezan.
Za pomoč pri izvedbi odprave smo v Pakistanu izbrali agencijo Blue Sky
Treks & Tours, ki nam je ves čas nudila odličen servis. Naš kuhar
Haji Ghulam Rasool je imel poleg kuharskih spretnosti največ zaslug za to,
da smo v bazo in iz nje prišli hitro in brez zapletov. Skrb s katero nam
je stregel v bazi je bila pogosto skorajda očetovska. Z zveznim oficirjem
nismo imeli večjih težav - ves čas je bil v bazi in se ni vtikal v naše
početje nad bazo. Po prihodu v bazo je zaradi višinske bolezni sestopil
do Paijuja in se po desetih dneh vrnil.
Zaradi slabih razmer in nestabilnega vremena je bil čas aklimatizacije
razmeroma dolg, poleg tega pa smo zgolj za aklimatizacijo porabili zelo
veliko energije. Opravili smo vzpon na koto 5880 in se v štirih dneh
vzpeli na vrh Biarchedija (6781 m) kar je bila ravno zadostna
aklimatizacija pred želenim Masherbrumom. Na Masherbrumu smo v tveganih
razmerah po Japonski smeri dosegli nekoliko manj kot 6000 metrov potem pa
ugotovili, da je vzpon v takih razmerah za nas preveč tvegan. Ob dejstvu,
da smo neposredno izkusili nekaj kložastih plazov, se je ta ugotovitev
ponujala kar sama od sebe. Vremenske razmere tudi kasneje niso ustvarile
upanja na skorajšnje izboljšanje.
Na podlagi pridobljenih izkušenj mislimo, da bi bil ob običajnih razmerah nekoliko kasnejši prihod v bazo bolj smiseln. Severna stran gore se dokaj počasi otrese snega kar predstavlja občutno nadlogo pri izbiri smeri vzpona. Dejstvo pa je, da je bilo letos pozimi izredno veliko padavin. Sneg se zato ni predelal do te mere, da bi omogočal varno plezanje. Masherbrum je prvovrsten alpinistični cilj in le še vprašanje časa je kdaj bodo zopet uspešno splezali na vrh.
Matic Jošt (foto)
- Lev Lofe expeditions
Španci leta 1984 opravijo "piratski" vzpon (brez plačila takse za vrh tako kot mi) na Biarchedi. Podatki o njihovem vzponu so na spletnem naslovu:
Steve House (foto)
The expedition went very well considering the conditions and the risk level we were dealing with. We had a very dangerous snowpack throughout the expedition and had a number of dangerous moments. The weather through the summer also was not helpful. We had consistently poor weather, with the longest spell of high pressure lasting just 50 hours. We barely scratched the surface of our intended route on Masherbrum, never getting past 5,900 meters on the snowy ridge which accessed the base of the pillar. We did climb an unclimbed peak near basecamp named Biarchedi, which was 6,781 meters. However, we did not possess a permit for that peak and so we won't report the ascent directly. That ascent did provide what I think we all three agreed was the best day of the expedition. We spent 4 hours on Birachedi's summit on a perfectly clear and windless morning. The skyline was: (excluding minor summits) Masherbrum, K6(unclimbed), K7, Chogolisa, Rimo peaks (in India), Saltoro Kangri, Gasherbrum 1,2,3,4,5,6,& 7, Broad Peak, K2, Mustag Tower, Cathedral, Ogre, Latok group, Trango/Nameless Group, Paiyu Peak, and Nanga Parbat floating on the horizon. Four hours certainly wasn't enough to take it all in.
We arrived in basecamp on May 31st with some difficulty due to winter snow on the glacier which the porters did not like to walk in. Indeed it was nasty walking, a breakable crust over nearly-knee-deep slush. We elected to put our basecamp on the Mandu Glacier at approximately 4,200 meters. There were two options for basecamp, this location, and the next glacier north, the Yermanendu Glacier. This would prove to be an important decision since we eventually learned that to access Masherbrum we had to get to the Yermanendu Glacier first. Though our decision to basecamp on the Mandu was well-researched through discussions with the leader of previous expedition to Masherbrum. (R.Ranzler, Austrain Expedition 1985). Due to different glacier conditions and an abundance of winter snow we were to cross a small pass above basecamp many times to get to and from the Yermanendu Glacier.
Marko and I climbed a small 5,000 meter peak near basecamp after a few days of rest. Here we triggered our first slide. A 12-18" slab that ran down a steep couloir for 2,000 feet wiping our our boot track on the way. We were surprised since in our minds we were expecting to find a summer snow pack, but this was the first clue that we were dealing with something different.
Our next foray was up the southern flank of Birachedi which we climbed to about 5,880 meters and slept for two nights. Marko and Matic made an effort to climb higher. Matic and I didn't feel too well, but Marko turned back at 6,000 meters due to poor conditions. We descended to basecamp in a blustery storm.
A few days later, on our first foray up the snowy ridge to access the north buttress I was breaking trail through soft snow and triggered another slide. This one was smaller, 30 feet across and 8 inches deep, but it funneled right onto Marko who was climbing on 50 degree ice at the time. Marko was swept off his stance and tumbled about 250 vertical feet back down the slope we had just ascended. Luckily he ended up on top and the runout was safely into a small saddle. Marko was totally unhurt and climbed back to us. For the rest of the trip we belayed all snow climbing.
This did wake us up, and we realized that the first slide wasn't just a fluke and we weren't dealing with stable summer snow. We were much more careful from here on out. Belaying snow climbing, digging pits to learn what to look for, and generally being more conservative. Then, later the same day Marko triggered a 12" wind-slab and he seemed to run on top of it while it broke into pieces and launched itself over a serac barrier. His running saved him from the fall but left us all feeling much less bold. The next day we came to a slope we were unwilling to cross. It was several hundred feet across, 40 degrees, and ended in a very large serac band. There was no exposed ice (stable seracs) to make anchors from and the only anchor-option was digging holes in the snow for belay seats. It was clear that if the slope ripped you were going over the seracs to your death(s). In getting to that point I had been in the lead and had triggered 3 more slides already that morning. After I failed attempt to climb the ridge crest Alaskan-style, we made the decision to abandon Masherbrum until conditions improved.
At that time we still weren't adequately acclimitized. We had wanted to climb to 7,000 meters before launching out on our alpine-style attempt of Masherbrum, which is 7,855 meters high. There weren't any nearby peaks besides Masherbrum that were so high. Biarchedi was the closest (6,781m) but we didn't have a permit for that. We returned to basecamp feeling downtrodden and casting about for safe options. It seemed that the trip could be truly over, but all of us had been on enough expeditions to know that things in the mountains can change.
Nothing changed in those last 3 weeks, but we did decide to climb Biarchedi without a permit. Our Liason Officer, Major Mazhar, was easily convinced that we were climbing somewhere on Masherbrum. We disappeared over the col to the Yermanendu Glacier and spent 4 days (1 storm day) climbing Birachedi and one day descending.
After Birachedi we had some good weather and thought that we might have a chance at Masherbrum, though we were still not as acclimated as we wanted to be. We had some hope that recent sun had stabilized the dangerous slopes. We packed for the climb and before we even got to sleep that night it started to rain very hard. It rained for several days and we sent for the porters.
We left basecamp three days earlier than planned. We had spent a total of 7 weeks there. While we had a difficult time, we considered ourselves to be successful. We approached the mountain on our terms, in good style, accepted the risks, and mitigated them well enough that we will all climb again. We all agreed that this was the most dangerous expedition any of us had been on. Largely due to our erroneous assumptions about the snow conditions in the early stages of the expedition. We were exposed to much more risk than we realized at first.
The trek out proved to be mostly pleasant as we took three extra days and explored the Charakusa and the Nangma Valleys which yielded fantastic climbing venues for future trips. The Charakusa inspired me to return for a brief solo expedition.
Though we didn't get far on this attempt, the line is so beautiful and so compelling that we will be sure to go back at some point. Personally I think it is the most amazing line on a big mountain that I have ever seen. The north buttress of Masherbrum will someday be climbed (in alpine style) and when that happens it will be one of the great ascents of its age. We sincerely hope that for the sake of this incredible peak that future suitors continue to respect the mountain enough to attempt it in good style. Masherbrum is certainly a diamond among gems in the Karakorum.