Broad Peak is located at the head of the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakorum Range of Pakistan. At 26,400 feet, it is the 12th highest mountain on earth and the 4th highest in Pakistan. Once named K3 by British topographers, its local name is Faichan Kangri.
Broad Peak was first climbed on June 9, 1957 by an Austrian team including Hermann Buhl. The ascent, the first 8000-meter peak climbed without the aid of high-altitude porters, is a milestone in the history of Himalayan mountaineering: the climb was made without the aid of supplemental oxygen and without base camp support. Buhl, already a legend after his solo summit climb on Nanga Parbat in 1953, thus became the first climber to make the first ascent of two 8000-meter peaks. Unfortunately, Buhl was killed only three weeks later when he stepped through a cornice on nearby Chogolisa.
This season, a German/Austrian team led by Markus Kronthaler hopes to follow Buhl’s classic route on Broad Peak and Chogolisa. The team reached Camp 1 at 5800m on Sunday (June 11) despite strong winds and fresh snowfall. Kronthaler’s team consists of nine climbers, most of whom are experienced mountain guides and/or members of the Austrian Mountain Police, accompanied by Everest researcher Jochen Hemmleb, who will be the team photographer and diarist. On Broad Peak, the team will attempt Buhl’s classic 1957 West Spur route; however, the team hopes to set themselves apart from their predecessors both by skiing down Chogolisa and experiencing a happier outcome than Buhl’s expedition.
Kronthaler’s expedition web site (in German) is located here.
The team has managed to get a first glimpse of Broad Peak as Buhl saw it – lonely and isolated. But it won’t last long. Dozens of teams are expected to descend on the peak’s slopes within the next two weeks.
A large team launched by Australian outfitter Field Touring Alpine also reached Base Camp today, and they have reported several other teams heading for Concordia – the glacier junction located several hour’s hike from Broad Peak’s Base Camp. According to the latest reports, the teams are progressing up the Baltoro Valley in frequent rains and low temperatures, with most of the surrounding mountains wrapped in dark cloud cover, apparently typical weather for the Karakorum.