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Search Called off for Missing Climbers on Gasherbrum I
Posted on: March 30, 2012
Gerfried Goschl, Cedric Hahlen and Nisar Hussain, three climbers who were attempting a winter ascent of Gasherbrum I, have been missing since since Friday, March 9, 2012, the day that Polish climbers Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab nabbed the first winter ascent of the peak. Goschl, Hahlen and Hussain were last seen 250 meters from the summit by Bielecki and Golab as the Polish climbers descended.
Stormy weather precluded helicopter flights to search for the missing climbers for several days. A volunteer search team comprised of Polish and Pakistani climbers tried to climb to Camp 1 to search for the missing party, but winds in excess of 150 kilometers per hour forced them to turn back. A second group of volunteers gathered in hopes of launching a second search attempt, but the weather fouled them once again.
The weather improved by March 15 and two military helicopters successfully scanned the route that the trio climbed as well as the normal route. Despite clear weather, no tracks or signs of the climbers were spotted. The group in base camp, along with Goschl's brother, decided to call off the search. "Unfortunately, there is no hope left now as they cannot stay there for such a long time so the search has been called off," stated Colonel Manzoor Ahmed, the president of the Pakistani Alpine Club.
Goschl, Hahlen and Hussain were all accomplished climbers. Goschl, forty years old and from Austria, attempted a new route on the south face of Gasherbrum I last winter. His climbing resume reads like a tick list of major climbs: K2, Everest, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak and a new route on Nanga Parbat. Hahlen was thirty years old and from Switzerland—though the youngest of the group he too had extensive high altitude experience, including the first ascent of the Chinese face of Gasherbrum II East with Ueil Steck and Hans Mitterer. 32-year-old Hussain a Pakistani who worked as a porter but joined this trip as a climber, had ascended all five 8000-meter peaks in Pakistan without supplemental oxygen. He began working as a high altitude porter after high school to supplement his family's income.