We head from Broad Peak Base Camp (4.950m) on short skis on the right side of the glacier into the direction of the Savoia glacier. Inbetween two peaks we find a way up to a plateau. On 6.060m we erect our small tent. The peak on the right side is our goal for tomorrow.
We reach the side cliff on skis in 6.300m. We exchange skis for crampons and ascent a 40° steep face for 300m. It gets even steeper after that and pure ice pushes us to the right side. Break at 6.900m. From that on we have hip deep, groundless snow all the way to the summit (7.360m). The summit is very steep and exposed.
We descent 900m by sliding on our backside down. From there we descent roped through the crevasses and jump over the side cliff. Then on skis down to the tent.
The next morning back to Broad Peak base camp. Trip duration 53 hours.
skis, rope, crampons
Pure Alpine Style in the Himalayas
And, to make this expedition all the more remarkable, following their ascent of Broad Peak, Marcus Schmuck and Fritz Wintersteller made a flash, ascent of an nearby peak, Skilbrum, in pure alpine style. Starting from base camp at 4,950 metres, they camped at 6,060 metres, made the summit the next day, then camped again at 6,060 metres, and then returned to base camp the next morning.
The whole ascent, from base camp to base camp was done in 53 hours!
From all of the above, this 1957 expedition was a wonderful precursor of the new style of climbing that what was to follow, for example, by Messner and Habeler.
Text: Bill Buxton