Andrew first saw this mountain whilst leading a trek up the Baltoro glacier of the Karakorum ranges in Pakistan in 1990. He was so inspired that he determined to return and climb it. And in 1993 he did just that.
Joining a small private international team which included the legendary Anatoli Bukreev, the team arrived at the mountain in early July. Climbing hard and pushing themselves to the limit in constantly bad weather, they quickly overtook all other expeditions on the mountain. Although one of the party was struck by a rock and needed to be evacuated to basecamp, the team persevered and launched their summit attempt in fantastic weather but very dangerous snow conditions. Andrew and 3 of his team mates summitted but on descent the mountain exacted its toll as the dangerous snows took the lives of two of his team mates. Despite the tragedy and his own exhaustion, Andrew had to turn his attention to rescuing a Swedish climber from another team who’d collapsed from cerebral oedema. There followed a harrowing, exhausting but ultimately successful retreat from this savage mountain.
This, the first of Andrew’s successful 8000 metre ascents, is one of the most riveting, inspiring stories of Australian mountaineering.