Winter Gasherbrum-II Expedition 2010/2011

Italian Winter Gasherbrum-II Expedition 2010/2011
In a three-day push from base camp, Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards have completed the first winter 8000-meter ascent of Gasherbrum II. On February 2nd the team reached the summit of Gasherbrum II (8035m) in the remote Karakoram Range in northwest Pakistan."It has been very hard, but the three of us feel well," Simone Moro reported from the summit. The team left their 6900m camp at 3 a.m on 2nd February. and reached the summit around 11:30 a.m. As weather conditions continue to deteriorate, they were unable to reach BC yesterday due to a major storm hitting the mountain. They however reached safely C1.
Hunza Guides were trying their best to contact the team since morning, but could not. Now just an hour before at almost 5, pm they were able to establish contact with Simone More, who told that his team has been blessed with new life, after being hit and buried in avalanche during their descend from C-I to base camp. The all got buried in avalanche but just due to stroke of luck they manage to dig themselves out of the molted frozen snow of avalanche and now have successfully reached base camp.
Detailed account of the successful attempt as well as the avalanche accident will be given by the team leader Simone Moro on their return from the Mountains. 
Gasherbrum-II ranks thirteenth on the worlds tallest peaks. The standard route follows the southwest ridge, relatively safe from avalanche and ice-fall hazards.
Despite poor weather and relentless cold, the team launched their summit bid early Sunday morning on 30th June in anticipation of a good weather window forecasted for Tuesday and Wednesday. They reached camp one Sunday night, and continued to camp two on Monday. The weather, though still windy, began to improve and on Tuesday the team climbed to 7100 meters to establish their final camp. The climb marks Simone Moro's third winter-first on an 8000-meter peak. He was the first non-Pole to join the winter 8000m club when he climbed Shisha Pangma with Piotr Morawski in 2005. Moro then attempted Broad Peak over two consecutive winters, but after being shut down on both attempts he diverted his attention to Makalu in 2009, where he succeeded with current teammate, Denis Urubko. He feels proud of his fellow climbers, i.e. Mr. Courtney W. Richards W. Richards and Mr. Denis Urubko, who played a key role in the successful winter ascent of Gasherbrum-II.
The team is not alone this winter in the Karakoram, two other teams are attempting nearby peaks. On Broad Peak (8047m), a Polish team is working towards the summit, despite the evacuation of expedition member Arkadiusz Grzadziel due to pulmonary edema. Gasherbrum I is also being attempted, though the Canadian and Austrian team has only reached base camp after an eight-day trek up the Baltoro Glacier (for images of the Baltoro see Fabiano Ventura's photo essay in Alpnist 32). Of the fourteen 8000m peaks, the five that have not been climbed in winter are all in Pakistan. The Polish took the first seven winter firsts on an eight-year marathon in the 1980's. Due to its remote location and notoriously atrocious weather, the Karakoram has resisted a winter ascent until now. Alex Txikon, a member of the Gasherbrum I team currently at base camp, said of the climb, "Simone has spent three winters here and I think he has fought a lot, we are super happy for him... if anyone deserved it, it was him."

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