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Three climbers missing on remote Pakistani peak
Veteran climber Gerfried Goschl of Austria, along with Swiss mountaineer Cedric Hahlen and Pakistani guide Nisar Hussein were attempting to make the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum I, the 11th tallest peak in the world at 26,509 feet. On Thursday, March 8, they used a satellite phone to call their support team to inform them that they were just 1475 feet from the top. The climbers sounded optimistic about their chances as weather conditions improved around them and they put the more technically challenging aspects of the ascent behind them. Unfortunately, that was the last time that anyone ever talked to them.
The following day a second team of climbers made history by becoming the first to successfully climb Gasherbrum I in the winter. While on the summit, those climbers reported seeing Goschl, Hahlen and Hussein on the move and still trying to reach the top. It would be the last time that anyone would ever see the men alive.
The Karakoram mountain range, where GI is located, is amongst the more challenging environments for climbers on the planet. Those challenges are only amplified further during the winter when the mountains are frequently buffeted by hurricane force winds and temperatures routinely plunge below -50ºF.
Goschl, Hahlen and Nisar spent nearly three months in that environment only to have their efforts tragically end this way.
[Photo credit: Uwe Gille via WikiMedia]