Success for Inurrategi on Broad Peak

Posted on: September 24, 2010


Juan Vallejo negotiates steep snow high on Broad Peak, Karakoram, Pakistan, between the north col and central summit. In mid-July, Alberto Inurrategi completed an alpine-style traverse of the north, central and main summits of Broad Peak in a three-day push. On an earlier attempt of the traverse, Inurrategi and partners Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza established a new 1250-meter route on Broad Peak North. [Photo] Alberto Inurrategi

On July 18, Basque climber Alberto Inurrategi completed an alpine-style traverse of Broad Peak (8051m) in Pakistan's Karakoram region. Ten days before, on an earlier attempt of the traverse, Inurrategi, Juan Vallejo and Mikel Zabalza established a new route on the north summit.

Broad Peak, the twelfth tallest mountain in the world, is comprised of three distinct summits: North (7550m), Central (8011m) and Main (8051m). A traverse of the all three peaks has been achieved twice before. Polish climbers Jerzy Kukuczka and Wojiech Kurtyka established the traverse in a four-day push in 1984. Eleven years later, Japanese climbers Toru Hattori, Toshiyuki Kitamura and Masafumi Todaka climbed the same route in alpine style over the course of seven days, camp-to-camp.

Inurrategi, Vallejo and Zabalza established base camp on June 14. They spent the next few weeks acclimatizing, climbing Pastora Peak (6379m) and the Normal Route on Broad Peak, and waiting for a big enough weather window to attempt a complete traverse of the north, central and main summits.

Vallejo traverses below a serac-laden ridge en route to Broad Peak Central. [Photo] Alberto Inurrategi

They began their first attempt of the traverse on July 9, climbing 1000 meters of 45- to 60-degree snow slopes on the west face of the north summit. This new route then intersected with the established south ridge. They followed that line for 250 meters to the summit of Broad Peak North, then descended to the col between the north and central summits, where they bivied at 7300m.

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Strong winds and a poor forecast convinced the trio to abandon their attempt on July 10, but they returned for another try six days later. Again, in one day they climbed the west face, summited and bivied at the col.

From the col on July 17, the trio traversed over Broad Peak Central, slowly trudging through deep snow. Fourteen hours after they left 7300m, they reached the central summit; without food or fuel, they descended to Camp 3 on Broad Peak's Normal Route, almost 1000 meters below.

The next day, Inurrategi completed the traverse to the main summit via the Normal Route by himself, while his teammates descended.

An experienced 8000-meter climber, Inurrategi was the tenth man to summit all 14 8000-meter peaks. Of note, he climbed all of them in alpine style and was the fourth person to forgo supplementary oxygen.

Sources: Alberto Inurrategi, thebmc.co.uk, up-climbing.com

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