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Broad Peak

Broad_Peak pakistan1994

After his successful rescue of a Swedish climber from high on K2 in 1993, Andrew was invited to join a Swedish expedition to Broad Peak in the northern summer of 1994. An attempt on a new route on the south ridge was aborted when one of the team had to make an emergency departure for home, so the expedition moved to the west face. Well acclimatised, they launched their summit bid from a high camp of 7100 metres and made good time to the summit ridge. Having traversed over the false summit, they continued on the long traverse to the final summit but when almost at the end of the ridge a powerful wind blew up and they were forced to turn around just metres from the top. The bad weather continued for many days and Andrew decided to return to the mountain another time.


1997 was his opportunity so he teamed up with a friend from his 1995 Nanga Parbat expedition. Returning to the south ridge of the mountain, the two climbed to the highest point ever reached on that route before finally being beaten by the mountain in surprising circumstances. They descended to basecamp where Andrew’s team mate headed for home but, as usual, Andrew was determined not to give up and moved around to the west face of the peak to launch his attempt after first sitting out a lengthy 10 day snow storm.

Andrew set out from the base of the mountain and entered the incredible psychological and physical challenge of attempting an 8000 metre peak in genuinely solo conditions, as there wasn’t another climber on the mountain. Knowing that speed was his only chance, he climbed directly to camp 3 in a single day, bivouaced at 7100 meters for a few hours whilst he rehydrated and then continued for the summit. The earlier storm had left deep and difficult snow conditions on the mountain and Andrew didn’t reach the summit until after 6pm the following day. Exhausted beyond words and dehydrated from 18 hours of climbing since his last sip of water, he was unable to descend a tricky rock step below the false summit at 8000 metres. There he endured a terrible solo bivouac without equipment, shelter, water or food until the sun rose the next morning and he could warm his frozen fingers. Incredibly he mustered his remaining strength and completed a massive push all the way down the mountain to basecamp that same day, thus completing one of the most remarkable 8000 metre ascents in Himalayan history, and setting an Australian mountaineering record of climbing two 8000 metre peaks in the same year, (see Dhaulagiri 1997).

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