The North Face Expedition Team Makes the First Winter Ascent of Gasherbrum II in Pakistan

Posted in Mountaineering, News by Jason Mitchell - 02.03.2011

We just received some very cool news from The North Face’s Expedition Team of Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards. They have successfully nabbed the summit of Pakistan’s Gasherbrum II peak — its first successful Winter ascent. Braving extreme cold, the weather held up just enough for their successful bid. Congratulations, fellas… well done!

Read on for more details from The North Face.

We’re thrilled to announce that an expedition team of The North Face athletes, including Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards, has reached the Summit of Gasherbrum II (GII) at 8,035m (26,362ft) in Pakistan. This milestone achievement marks the first 8,000m peak to be climbed in the Karakorum mountain range during the winter season, and the first American [Richards] winter ascent of an 8000m peak. This is Moro’s third 8,000m ascent in winter (Shisha Pangma in 2005 and Makalu in 2009) and Urubko’s second (Makalu in 2009).

Moro, Urubko and Richards left base camp (5,100m) on Sunday January 30th and reached the summit this morning at 11:28 am PKT (Pakistan Standard Time), with temperatures at about -23˚ C. The team is now beginning its descent back to base camp, which will take approximately two days. Via satellite phone, Moro said “It has been very hard, but the three of us feel well.”

We wish the team the best of luck for the remaining descent.

Weather Window Open As Moro, Urubko & Richards Go For Summit

Lugano, Switzerland, January 29, 2011 – The North Face®, the world’s premier supplier of authentic, innovative and technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, receives a green light as Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards go for summit on the morning of Sunday January 30th 2011, in their attempt of the first winter ascent of 8,035m (26,362ft) peak, Gasherbrum II (GII), Pakistan.

Taking advantage of the first short weather window of opportunity, despite the prevailing -46° temperature and forecasted cloudy conditions, Moro, Urubko & Richards leave base camp (5,100m) on Sunday January 30th 2011 at 07.00 a.m. (PKT Pakistan Standard Time) to climb to Camp 1 (6,500m). The team will sleep at Camp 1 for one night and aim to depart on Monday January 31st 2011 to continue climbing to Camp 2 (6,900m) for a further night’s stay.

Weather is predicated favourable with sunshine on Tuesday February 1st 2011, allowing the climbers to establish a transitional Camp 3 at 7,300-7,500m. Moro, Urubko & Richards aim to summit GII during Wednesday February 2nd, 2011. Weather outlook is for clear skies in the morning, before clouds set in during the afternoon. Snowfall is forecasted during the return journey to Base Camp.

Located in the Gilgit Baltistan province in Pakistan, near the Chinese border, Gasherbrum II, also known as K4, is the 13th highest mountain in the world and the third highest peak of the Gasherbrum Massif in the Himalayan Kakoram range. First climbed by an Austrian expedition, Fritz Moravec, Josef Larch and Hans Willenpart, on July 8th 1956, G2’s time-line of ‘first’ ascents and descents number less than ten. None include a successful winter ascent, as yet. The five non-ascended 8,000m peaks in winter are all located in the Karakoram, Pakistan and remain unclimbed despite 16 attempted winter expeditions since 1987.

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