(Gasherbrum I) 8068 m
summited 23.07.2003 by the classical route, Ukrainian National Expedition
Mountain began to cripple and kill us and we trampled our way simply
and primitively... "
During the expedition two climbs in
different styles and classes were made - a high altitude climb of
Hidden Peak (8068m) under leadership of Vladislav Terzyul and a
big wall class climb on Trango Tower (6257m) under the leadership
of Vladimir Mogyla. The head of the expedition was Valentin Simonenko,
the chief coach Mstislav Gorbenko and the coach Michael Zagirnyak.
The members of Hidden Peak team:
1. Nikolay Goryunov
2. Sergey Kovalev
3. Vladimir Pestrikov
4. Sergey Pugachov
5. Vladislav Terzyul
6. Michael Yevchev
7. Georgiy Taran, doctor
Expedition “Ukraina-Karakoram-2003” first planned to climb Hidden
Peak via an original route - up the left buttress of the South West
face. For acclimatization Vladislav proposed to climb Trango Tower,
located at the same region in the lower part of the Baltoro glacier,
via an easy route. But the coaches did not support this idea. The
accepted plan was to go to Hidden Peak BC and start working on the
route. Two ascents were envisaged: first to pass the key section
of the route and set up two intermediate camps; second, climbing
to the summit.
After arriving at BC and setting it up, the team began work on the
route - steep rocks mixed with snow and ice. Some sections of the
route appeared to be dangerous - falling ice crumbles and snowy
dust. Working on some of this section Vladislav was gashed on left
hand by piece of ice. Later in Odessa he found that his hand had
been fractured. This accident did not prevent him from climbing.
But it made the team change route. They decided to climb Hidden
Peak via the normal way. The tactical plan was entirely revised.
At the time of the accident, the team had surmounted a considerable
part of the other route and set C1 and C2. But the mountain did
not allow anyone to make progress. Two members of a Spanish-Argentinian
expedition perished. Then tragedy happened to the Ukrainian team.
On June 15, during an acclimatization trek from C1 to C2, a huge
mass of ice fell from the slopes between the marked trail and the
wall of Hidden Peak. Vladimir Pestrikov was wounded And died, hit
by a piece of ice; and Sergey Kovalev sustained a concussion. They
were moving faster than the rest of the team and were 200m ahead.
The others - N. Gorunov, S. Pugachov and M. Yevchev - quickly jumped
into a safe place and were covered with ice dust, but did not get
hurt. Vladislav didn’t take part in the ascent that day, he was
treating his injured hand in BC. No one could accept this fatality.
All the participants, including members of other expeditions, doctors,
helicopter pilots and officers, did their best and struggled for
about 1.5 hours for Vladimir’s life. S. Kovalev went out to accompany
Vladimir’s body to Skardu and home. The team on Trango Tower climbed
in accordance with their plan, and the members of the Hidden Peak
team slowly recovered from the shock. They had strength for climbing,
they had spent months in training, making winter pre-expedition
camps in the Caucasus. Vladimir had dreamed of climbing this mountain.
The previous year on Mt.Dhaulagiri, he had felt sickness and Terzyul
had conditioned him to be in good shape for the Hidden Peak climb.
Vladimir accepted all those demands, met them and was one of leaders
of the expedition. It was difficult for the rest of the team to
come to a decision to continue climbing. Talks about this decision
with the President of the Mountaineering Federation of Ukraine,
V. Simonenko, by satellite phone
lasted over an hour! He took responsibility and agreed that we should
proceed. There were about nine expeditions working on Hidden Peak.
And as it was often the case in our history of Himalayan expeditions,
our team became the first summiters that season. The climbing was
done via the classical route in alpine style without supplementary
oxygen. The team dedicated the climb to the memory of Vladimir Pestrikov,
good friend, great mountaineer and climbing partner. He had summited
Lhotse and Dhaulagiri.
The schedule of climbing (by Nikolay Goryunov):
"20.07 - The group of climbers V.Terzyul, N.Goryunov, S.Pugachov,
M.Yevchev leave BC for C1
21.07 - Ascent from C1 to C2 (6300m), the rest of the day spent
taking gear up to 6700m via the Japanese couloir.
The ridge on sky line - classical route to G1, view from C2.
22.07 - Ascent from C2 to C3 (about 7300m) took about 10 hours.
We met the Iranian team on fixed ropes and lost time waiting for
them to pass.
V. Terzyul on the route between C2 and C3.
View of G1 from the slopes of G2, assault camp C3.
23.07 - Started at 4.10 a.m. local time. The route crossed very
long snowy slopes and couloirs. It was tough and icy. We moved slowly,
no fixed ropes. The higher we climbed the slower we moved. M. Yevchev
stopped climbing around 11.00 and waited for us at a safe place.
The summit seemed to be close but it took about 3 hours more. We
had to convince ourselves to go step by step. 100m before the summit
we were surprised to see fixed rope, then a short ridge and at 14.10
we were at the summit!
V.Terzyul and N.Goryunov on the top of Hidden Peak.
V.Terzyul on the summit.
About 15.00 we started our descent, moving cautiously,
using ropes by turn. Beneath us were steep and long slopes. It got
dark about 20.00. At 22.30 we arrived at C3.
24.07 - The weather was getting worse, it was a blizzard and there
was poor visibility. We descended to C2 and met Spanish, Italian
and other climbers there. We had a short rest and proceeded to descend
25.07 - At C1 we rested, slept and drank a lot of fluid. We got
a late morning start to BC. The glacier on South Gasherbrum had
changed radically - it was extremely cracked. We passed it very
cautiously. On the way to BC, our doctor and the cook, Nazar-Karim,
met us and took some of our gear. We arrived at BC with light backpacks
- only 20 kg. In evening we commemorated Vladimir."
Next day BC was packed up, and the team went to Trango Tower BC
to support the group of V. Mogyla working on the route. Terzyul
and Yevchev went to Skardu with the caravan of porters and expedition’s
supplies and equipment.