Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Montgomerie's original sketch in which he applied the notation
The policy of the Great Trigonometric Survey was to use local names for mountains wherever possible and K1 was found to be known locally as
Lacking a local name, the name Mount Godwin-Austen was suggested, in honour of Henry Godwin-Austen, an early explorer of the area, and while the name was rejected by the Royal Geographical Society it was used on several maps, and continues to be used occasionally.
The surveyor's mark,
"...just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man - or of the cindered planet after the last."
The west face of
The mountain was first surveyed by a European survey team in 1856. Thomas Montgomerie was the member of the team who designated it "
The first serious attempt to climb
The next expedition to K2 in 1909, led by Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi, reached an elevation of around 6,250 metres (20,505 ft) on the South East Spur, now known as the Abruzzi Spur (or Abruzzi Ridge). This would eventually become part of the standard route, but was abandoned at the time due to its steepness and difficulty. After trying and failing to find a feasible alternative route on the West Ridge or the
The next attempt on
Charles Houston returned to
Success and repeats
An Italian expedition finally succeeded in ascending to the summit of
The West Face and upper slopes of
The year 1978 saw the third ascent of
Another notable Japanese ascent was that of the difficult North Ridge, on the Chinese side of the peak, in 1982. A team from the Mountaineering Association of Japan led by Isao Shinkai and Masatsugo Konishi put three members, Naoe Sakashita, Hiroshi Yoshino, and Yukihiro Yanagisawa, on the summit on August 14. However Yanagisawa fell and died on the descent. Four other members of the team achieved the summit the next day.
The first climber to summit
The peak has now been climbed by almost all of its ridges. Although the summit of Everest is at a higher altitude,
The use of bottled oxygen
For most of its climbing history,
Acclimatisation is essential when climbing without oxygen to avoid some degree of altitude sickness.
The first woman to reach the summit was Wanda Rutkiewicz, of
Climbing routes and difficulties
There are a number of routes on
Carl Drew climbing ladders on Abruzzi Spur
The standard route of ascent, used far more than any other route, is the Abruzzi Spur, located on the Pakistani side, first attempted by Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the
The north side of
Almost opposite from the Abruzzi Spur is the North Ridge, which ascends the Chinese side of the peak. It is rarely climbed, partly due to very difficult access, involving crossing the
Besides the original Japanese ascent, a notable ascent of the North Ridge was the one in 1990 by Greg Child, Greg Mortimer, and Steve Swenson, which was done alpine style above Camp 2, though using some fixed ropes already put in place by a Japanese team.
The major routes to have been climbed on the south side of the mountain. A:West Ridge B:West Face C:Southwest Pillar D:South Face E:South-southeast Spur F:
- Northeast Ridge (long and corniced; finishes on uppermost part of
route), 1978. Abruzzi
- West Ridge, 1981.
- Southwest Pillar or "Magic Line", very technical, and second most demanding. First climbed in 1986 by the Polish-Slovak trio Piasecki-Wróż-Božik. Since then the Catalan Jordi Corominas was the only successful climber on this route, despite many other attempts.
- South Face or "Polish Line" (extremely exposed and most dangerous). In 1986, Jerzy Kukuczka and Tadeusz Piotrowski summitted on this route. Reinhold Messner called it a suicidal route and no one has repeated their achievement. "The route is so avalanche-prone, that no one else has ever considered a new attempt."
- Northwest Face, 1990.
- Northwest Ridge (finishing on North Ridge). First ascent in 1991.
- South-southeast spur or "Cesen route" (finishing on
route. A possibly safer alternative to the Abruzzi Spur because of avoiding the first big obstacle on Abruzzi called Black Pyramid ), 1994. Abruzzi
- West Face (technically difficult at high altitude), done by a Russian team in 2007 Official site.
K2 is only ranked 22nd by topographic prominence, a measure of a mountain's independent stature, because it is part of the same extended area of uplift (including the Karakoram, the Tibetan Plateau, and the Himalaya) as Mount Everest, in that it is possible to follow a path from K2 to Everest that goes no lower than 4,594 m (15,070 ft) (at Mustang Lo). Many other peaks which are far lower than