Skil Brum 7,360m lies above and beyond the seracs of upper Savoia Glacier. It is a beautiful peak located close by the World second highest peak, K2 in the Godwin Austin Glacier area. The other peaks standing close to Skil Brum are Savoia Peak 7,286m, Angel Peak 6,858m, Praqpar 7,156m, Broad Peak 8,047m, and of course the mighty K2 8,611m.
Skil Brum from Broad Peak Camp III (c) 1957 Fritz Wintersteller
Text based on Bill Buxton:
To make this expedition all the more remarkable, Marcus Schmuck and Fritz Wintersteller followed their ascent of Broad Peak with a flash ascent of a nearby mountain, Skil Brum (7,360 m), which they climbed in pure alpine style.
Starting from base camp at 4,900 metres, they crossed ten miles of the Godwin-Austen and Savoia glaciers in ten hours and climbed up a snow slope on skis to camp at about 6060 meters. On June 19th, they ascended in twelve hours the remaining 1300 meters on the south west face of the summit, first on hard snow and then in deep powder and then returned to their high camp. They descended the next morning on skis.
From base camp to base camp, the ascent of Skil Brum was done in 53 hours! What an extraordinary feat of self-discipline, endurance and sheer determination.
From all of the above, this 1957 expedition was a wonderful precursor of the new style that what was to follow, such as that exemplified in the climbs of Messner and Habeler.
The alpine style is a variant whereby the mountain climbers do without supplemental oxygen, high altitude porters, and attachment of fixed ropes and camps. Instead, mountains are climbed like a mountain in the alps. The entire equipment as well as the tent are carried and packed up on the next morning again. This style became well-known and popular with Reinhold Messner, when he climbed Mount Everest without oxygen equipment in 1978, together with Peter Habeler. Marcus Schmuck and Fritz Wintersteller were the first who demonstrated pure alpine style at the successful Austrian Broad Peak expedition in 1957. Skil Brum was the premiere of alpine style.
A small Austrian expedition achieved a remarkable climb in the year 1957. The first ascent of Broad Peak 8047m was planned and done without the help of high altitude porters, without artificial oxygen, and without base camp support. All 4 members of the expedition reached the summit on the same day, the 9th of June 1957.
The month of June 2007 will be the month of the Golden Jubilee 2007 of Broad Peak First Ascent. Events will be carried out in Austria and Pakistan. The "Night of the First Ascent" takes place in the Congress Centre of Salzburg, Austria on Saturday, June 9, 2007 as of 6:00 pm.
The "Night of the First Ascent" is organized by Broad Peak Club in close cooperation with the Oesterreichischer Alpenverein. We present a collection of Broad Peak 8047m Summit Pictures. The program includes German and English contributions of some of the world's best mountaineers as guest speakers, presenting slide- and multi-media shows, vintage films, new books, and an exposition of the original expedition equipment. The summiteers of the 1957 expedition, Kurt Diemberger, Fritz Wintersteller, and the liaison officer, Qader Saeed have confirmed their participation.
We say farewell to the Broad Peak Jubilee Expedition of Gerfried Göschl and his team. Donations and proceeds of the event go to the Göschl Family Aid for Pakistan and to Doug Scott's Community Action Nepal in support of school projects under the patronage of Rotary International.
Nine Austrians have climbed five of the world's 14 highest mountains for the first time, among them three were members of the Edelweiss Club Salzburg (Kurt Diemberger, Marcus Schmuck, and Fritz Wintersteller). The other six Austrians are Hermann Buhl, Josef Jöchler, Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch, Herbert Tichy und Johann Willenpart.
The Edelweiss Club Salzburg decorates the event with giant oil paintings of Broad Peak and will open the legendary Edelweisser Bar that usually opens only one day per year on the last Friday in January.
Until Skardu one can drive about 24 hours on KKH or fly to Skardu in 1 hours. From Skardu there are two ways to get there: (1) Baltoro Glacier via Askole Village is the normal route or (2) by the Gondogoro Pass via Hushe Village. Same two ways are possible at the time of return from the mountain.
In 1957 Schmuck and Wintersteller started from Broad Peak base camp up the Godwin Austen glacier to the base of Skil Brum.
When To Climb
May to July is the best time to climb Skil Brum as it is also the best time for the other mountains in the area.
Mountain Weather Conditions
Daily Weather Forecasts for K2. Skil Brum is 5 miles away from K2.
The following forecast is delivered by SMHI
(the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute).
The forecast is updated daily and originates from ECMWF
(The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts).
Fritz Wintersteller on the way to Skil Brum (c) 1957 Marcus Schmuck
The peak was unnamed when Marcus Schmuck and Fritz Wintersteller climbed it for the first time. Qader Saeed, the liaison officer of the Austrian Broad Peak Expedition could give permission for an unnamed peak and Fritz Wintersteller made the first cartographic drawings and handed them over to the military after the climb.
Marcus Schmuck, the leader of the Austrian OEAV Karakoram Expedition 1957, wanted to name the peak "Peak Dyhrenfurth" in honor of GO Dyhrenfurth, who provided key information to him during the planning phase of the Austrian First Ascent expedition to Broad Peak 8,047m. Marcus Schmuck followed Dyhrenfurt's suggestion to climb Broad Peak on the West ridge as described the book, Baltoro ein Himalaya Buch, GO Dyhrenfurth, Benno Schwabe & Co., Basel 1939.
The OEAV (Austrian Alpenverein) confirmed that the peak should be called "Peak Dyhrenfurth" and at the same time the OEAV declined the 2nd suggestion to call it "Peak Austria".
But another name was finally decided by the Government of Pakistan and the peak was named "Skil Brum".
The Surveyor General of Pakistan wrote to Fritz Wintersteller on 16 June 1958 a letter:
"Dear Sir, I am to inform you that the new peak in Baltore region W.S.W. of K-2 Peak, approximate height of 24,500 ft. discovered by the Austrian Karakoram Expedition in 1957 has been named by the Government of Pakistan as "SKIL BRUM". With best wishes. Yours sincerely, (M.Z.A. QURESHI) for Surveyor General of Pakistan."
History of Austrian Mountaineers
Nine Austrians have climbed five of the world's 14 highest mountains for the first time, among them three were members of the Edelweiss Club Salzburg (Kurt Diemberger, Marcus Schmuck, Fritz Wintersteller). The other six Austrians are Hermann Buhl, Josef Jöchler, Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch, Herbert Tichy und Johann Willenpart.
Austrian Mountaineers - 8,000m Mountains First Ascent
Hermann Buhl - Nanga Parbat 1953, Broad Peak 1957
Kurt Diemberger - Broad Peak 1957, Dhaulagiri I 1960
Josef Jöchler - Cho Oyu 1954
Josef Larch - Gasherbrum II 1956
Fritz Moravec - Gasherbrum II 1956
Marcus Schmuck - Broad Peak 1957
Herbert Tichy - Cho Oyu 1954
Johann Willenpart - Gasherbrum II 1956
Fritz Wintersteller - Broad Peak 1957
Thus, Austria became the most successful Nation in storming the Himalayas and achieved a high recognition and reputation in the Alpine world.
The Association of Mountaineers Edelweiss Club Salzburg has been founded in 1881 and has currently about 60 members. They meet every Thursday in Salzburg, Austria.
Like all peaks in the Baltoro region, this peak also requires advance application and permit is subject to authorization by the tourism office. An Army Liaison Officer is to accompany the expedition as Skil Brum falls in the so called restricted zone. All the rules and regulation for peaks like Chogolisa, Broad Peak, K2 will apply on this peak too.
In 1957, Qader Saeed, the Pakistani liaison officer of the Austrian Karakoram Expedition, could give permission for an unnamed peak and the Director General of the Surveyers Office thanked Schmuck and Wintersteller for clearing a white spot on their military map. The Government of Pakistan named the peak Skil Brum about one year later in June 1958.
Text from the manuscript of Richard Sale: Broad Peak, Richard Sale, Carreg Ldt, UK 2004, ISBN 0 9538631 1 5
On 18 June Schmuck and Wintersteller leave Base Camp at 4am, cross the Godwin-Austen Glacier and then bear left to follow the Savoia Glacier. At the point where the Praqpa Glacier meets the Savoia, they put on skis and followed the Praqpa. After a rest to escape from the strong sun at midday they climbed to the col at the head of the glacier. The col lies between two 7000m peaks: they decided to attempt the one on the right and climbed up to about 6000m where they found a camp site well sheltered from both avalanches and the wind. They were in their sleeping bags by 5pm, cooking from them until 6pm when they tried to sleep.
The following day the two men start early. It is a beautiful day, but very cold. They climb up steep (40° - 50°) slopes, sometimes on ice, sometimes on soft snow which threatens to avalanche. For once Wintersteller is having a bad day and Schmuck does most of the trail breaking. At 4pm they reach a pointed summit which Wintersteller’s altimeter measures at 7420m (the peak is later surveyed at 7360m) where they erect a stone cairn. From the top there is a fantastic view of Broad Peak, which looks very steep, and of Paiju Peak and the Mustagh Tower. They have climbed the highest peak of the Savoia. At that time the peak was unnamed but is later named Skil Brum by the Pakistani Government. On the descent Schmuck is overwhelmed by an attack of high altitude cough, coughing so hard he is sick into the snow. But even that cannot extinguish the sheer joy of the ascent, a joy which shines through his account of the day - ‘Slogging down in deep snow, then frozen snow and an ice channel. A great strain. I jump over a crevasse then ski down to the tent - marvellous! 19.30 at the tent, cooking in candlelight. The cooker falls over, but we aren’t bothered, just pleased and happy at our success. About 9pm to bed! Very cold!.’
The joy extends into the next day, when, after a breakfast of sea buckthorn juice and Ovaltine - ‘We descend with unusual speed and much less effort over the frozen snow between the crevasses. We stop several times in order to calm our breathing, we are skiing at 6000m after all! And with 15kg on our backs. I have a fall and as a result the Thermos is destroyed. We deliberately swing down in beautiful curves to the Savoia glacier, and after a short rest we continue schussing down on our short skis. I would have loved to call out in joy but during the descent I didn’t have enough air. At the beginning of the system of crevasses we leave a tent, air beds, food, fuel and cooker so we won’t have to carry it from Base Camp on a future visit, then continue descending. At one point we have to carry our skis across a crevasse, but otherwise we wangle our way to the Base Camp. We reach it at 8.30’ (Schmuck).
Good news for mountaineers! The Pakistani Tourism Ministry has decided to continue its 50-percent relaxation in royalty for mountaineers intended to scale above 6,500 metre high peaks.
It will also uphold its decision to waive off royalty on up to 6,500 metre high peaks and charge only 10 percent of the total royalty on mountains in Gilgit, Chitral and Ghizar for the year 2006.
The ministry announced the decision through three different notifications. The first notification maintained that the 50-percent reduction in royalty for climbing mountains above 6,500 metre of height in the Northern Areas would continue.
Teams up to seven members fall directly under the relaxation entitlement, but have to pay $1,000 for each extra member to climb the world’s second highest peak K-2 (8,611 metre high), $ 750 for each extra member to climb any of the four above-8,000-metre-high peaks - Nangma Parbat (8,125 metre), Gasherbrum (8,068 metre), Broad Peak (8,047 metre) and Gasherbrum-II (8,035 metre).
Lastly, charges of $250 for each additional member on mountains ranging from 7,500 to 8,000 metres of height, $150 for 7,001 to 7,500 metre heights and $100 for 6500 to 7,000 metre heights will also be upheld.