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Updated: October 2011. Click on an image to see the FULL size with a caption.
The following reference information is included:
My rating scale: Excellent ; Very Good ; Good ; Fair ; Poor.
Please see K2 Trekking Guidebooks.
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by Reinhold Messner. First published in English in 1992. The book briefly describes Messner's ascents of Manaslu in 1972, Gasherbrum I - Hidden Peak in 1975, Everest without oxygen in 1978 and solo in 1980, Nanga Parbat solo in 1978, K2 in 1979, and a traverse of Gasherbrum I and II in 1984. The cover is the summit of K2. There are 56 pages of colour photos, 20 pages of b/w photos, 26 b/w photos, and six paintings by French artist Jean-George Inca highlighting the stories in the book.
The chapter on Gasherbrum I is 48 pages long with 8 pages of colour photos, 2 pages of b/w photos, 1 b/w photo in line with text, and a 1-page painting by Inca.
The chapter on the Gasherbrum Traverse is 13 pages long with 8 pages of colour photos, 1 page of b/w photos, 8 b/w photos in line with text, and a 1-page painting by Inca. "In three days in radiant weather we were on the summit of Gasherbrum II. ... The next morning we risked the dangerous descent into the Gasherbrum Valley ... Only if we forced ourselves – exhausted, emaciated and without back-up – to venture the second peak, could we succeed in what no one had previously attempted – the combined traverse of two of the highest mountains in the world without rest and without outside help. ... Suddenly it became uncannily gloomy. The storm increased to hurricane force ... Our goggles were iced up, our faces numb. ... At last, behind a cornice was the summit! The second eight-thousander within four days."
If you want a Best Of Messner book, this is a great choice. The Gasherbrum Traverse is short and action packed. The photos are very good. Messner's writing is interesting and poetic, letting us know his feelings and inner-most thoughts.
by Reinhold Messner. Published 1998. In German. There are 32 pages of colour photos, 4 pages of b/w photos, 33 b/w photos in-line with text, 9 routes, and 1 map.
The first section (47 pages) describes Messner's 1975 attempt on the Lhotse South Face. There are 4 pages of colour photos, 4 b/w photos in-line with text, and 1 route. The story is from Messner's book The Challenge except the first part of the story is skipped. Some of the photos are the same as The Challenge.
The second section (85 pages) describes Messner's ascent of Gasherbrum I with Peter Habeler on August 10, 1975 via the Northwest Face. There are 11 pages of colour photos, 1 page b/w photo, 18 b/w photos in-line with text, 1 route, and 1 map. The story is from Messner's book The Challenge except the first part of the story is skipped. Many of the photos are different from The Challenge.
The third section (13 pages) describes Messner's ascent of Gasherbrum II with Sher khan and Nazir Sabir on July 24, 1982 via the Southwest Ridge. There are 5 pages of colour photos, 1 page b/w photo, 7 b/w photos in-line with text.
The fourth section (28 pages) describes Messner's traverse of Gasherbrum II (June 25 1984) and Gasherbrum I (June 28 1984) with Hans Kammerlander. There are 9 pages of colour photos, 2 pages of b/w photos, 4 b/w photos in-line with text, and 1 route.
The book closes with 6 b/w routes showing the different ascent routes on Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II and who climbed them first.
If you can't read German, it's better to buy To The Top Of The World. The photos are very good.
by Reinhold Messner. Published 1983. This coffee-table photographic book with text in German details Messner's ascents of Kangchenjunga on May 6, 1982, Gasherbrum II on July 24, 1982, Broad Peak on August 2, 1982, and Cho Oyu on May 5, 1983. Hmm, maybe it should have been called 4x8000? The front cover is in Leh, Ladakh. There are 119 pages of colour photos.
The combined chapter on Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II has 7 pages of colour photos, and 7 pages of text with 14 b/w photos and 1 map. The chapter on Gasherbrum II has 9 pages of colour photos (one including climbing routes), 1 b/w photo, and 1 page of text with 2 b/w photos and 1 map. On July 24, 1982 Reinhold Messner and Pakistani climbers Sher Khan and Nazir Sabir completed the 8th ascent of Gasherbrum II via the Southwest Ridge in alpine style without oxygen.
The photos are very good.
by Fritz Moravec. First published 1958. In German. This book has two stories. The first is the story of the first ascent of Gasherbrum II on July 7, 1956 by Austrians Fritz Moravec, Sepp Larch and Hans Willenpart. There are 6 pages of b/w photos, and 10 very small b/w photos and a map on the inside front cover and first page. The second story describes the author's travels in Africa, mainly Kenya, climbing Kilimanjaro and visiting Mount Kenya. There are 6 pages of b/w photos, and 11 very small b/w photos and a map on the last page and the inside back cover.
Moravec led an expedition of 5 climbers, a geologist and doctor to Gasherbrum II, traveling from Genoa to Karachi by ship, overland to Rawalpindi, flying to Skardu and trekking via Askole and the Baltoro Glacier to Base Camp (5320m). They set up Camp I (6000m) but had to descend in bad weather. This was lucky because when they went back up on June 30, they found Camp I completely buried under a huge avalanche. They had lost most of their food and nearly all the high-altitude equipment. Rather than descend they decided on a fast, lightly mounted attempt on the summit. In just four days they opened up a new route over very steep snow and ice slopes as far as 7000m. They then decided to make a rapid bid for the summit with a bivouac halfway.
Moravec, Larch and Willenpart left Camp III in the afternoon of July 6, climbing unroped in bad snow, bivouacking at 7500m. They started at dawn the next day in fine weather and plodded painfully on, metre by metre in deep snow. Fritz Moravec, Sepp Larch and Hans Willenpart completed the first ascent of Gasherbrum II summit on July 7, 1956 at 13:30. "On the summit, the wind was still, and we enjoyed the unforgettable wonderful view. ... The ascent of Gasherbrum II was not a victory over the mountain. The mountain was kind to us. The weather and the circumstances were good."
The story is fairly basic. The photos are good.
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by Richard Sale, John Cleare (Photographer) - Highly recommended! The book details the exploration, first ascent, and other major ascents of all 14 8000m peaks, including spectacular photos. The front cover is Shishapangma.
by Simone Moro. Published 2008. In Italian and English. This coffee-table size book features excellent photos from all 14 8000m peaks. Each 8000m peak has a brief history, a photo of each face showing the climbing routes, and lots of excellent photos.
There are 8 pages on Gasherbrum II with especially interesting photos from the Chinese side.
The photos and route diagrams are excellent.
by Shiro Shirahata. Published 1990. One of Michael Chessler's Best Mountain Photo Books. He may just be the best mountaineering photographer ever. This coffee-table sized book provides stunning large photographs printed on glossy quality paper.
This book contains K2 (cover), Broad Peak, Gasherbrum I, Gasherbum II, Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa, Nanga Parbat, and Tirich Mir. The photo of Gasherbrum IV on the back cover is stunning.
The photos are excellent. Shirahata just may be the best mountaineering photographer ever.
by Reinhold Messner. One of Michael Chessler's Top 100 Mountaineering Books. This book details Messner's ascents of all 14 8000m peaks documented with his photos. He also includes route diagrams and some basic history of the first few ascents. Messner was the first climber to summit all 14 mountains over 8000 metres in height, beginning with Nanga Parbat on June 27, 1970 and finishing with Lhotse on October 16, 1986.
Reinhold Messner and Pakistani mountaineers Sher Khan and Nazir Sabir climbed the Southwest Ridge to the summit of Gasherbrum II on July 24, 1982.
From June 23 to 30, 1984, Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander traversed Gasherbrum II and Gasherbrum I in alpine style, reaching the summit of Gasherbrum II on June 25, descending to a pass, and reaching the summit of Gasherbrum I on June 28.
The photos are very good.
photographs by Ed Viesturs, text with Peter Potterfield. Released in early 2003, this book presents photographs with some basic text descriptions of Viesturs' ascents of 11 of the 14 8000ers. After this book was published he reached the summit of Nanga Parbat in June 2003, Broad Peak in July 2003, and on May 12, 2005 he reached the summit of Annapurna, becoming the first American to reach the summit of all 14 8000ers, all without oxygen. The front cover is Manaslu.
Viesturs devotes 59 pages to his attempts on Everest in 1987, 1988 East Kangshung Face, 1993 and 1995, and his successful summits in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1996, and 1997. Ed was part of the 1996 Everest IMAX movie, and on his own way to the summit he had to pass the bodies of Scott Fischer and Rob Hall who had died days before. "I had never had a friend die, let alone a climbing partner. So seeing my friends' bodies was very difficult."
Ed's photos are excellent.
by Marco Bianchi. Published 2003. Although the title claims to be the 14 highest summits in the world, this beautiful, large-format photo book really focuses on the seven mountains the author climbed. The text is in Spanish, but the photos transcend language.
After attempts on Makalu in 1986 and Cho Oyu in 1989, Bianchi summitted seven of the 14 8000m peaks: Manaslu Sept. 28 1992 via Northeast Face, Broad Peak July 6 1993 via Normal route, Cho Oyu Sept. 18 1993 via West Ridge, Shishapangma Oct. 6 1993 via Southwest Face, Dhaulagiri Sept. 25 1994 via Northeast Ridge, Everest May 12 1995 via Northeast Ridge, and K2 Aug. 10 1996 via North Ridge.
There are 44 pages of the trip from Islamabad to Skardu, the trek up the Baltoro Glacier to Concordia, Gasherbrum I and II, Broad Peak and K2.
The photos are excellent. You can preview many of the photos at marcobianchifotografo.com.
by Gertrude Reinisch. Published in English in 2000. This book traces the career of Polish climber Wanda Rutkiewicz. It includes brief reports of Trollryggen in Norway in 1968, Pik Lenin 1970, the Eiger North Face 1973, the Matterhorn North Face 1978, Aconcagua South Face 1985, and Cerro Torre 1988. The book focuses mainly on her climbs in the Himalaya and Karakoram, including: the first ascent of the then highest unclimbed peak 7952m Gasherbrum III August 11, 1975 (4 pages); Mount Everest summit October 16, 1978 (10 pages); Nanga Parbat attempt 1976 and summit July 15, 1985 (5 pages); K2 expedition leader 1982, attempt 1984, and becoming the first female to summit K2 June 23, 1986 (35 pages); Makalu attempts 1986 and 1990 (10 pages); Shishapangma Main Summit September 18, 1987 (4 pages); Gasherbrum II summit July 12, 1989 (14 pages); Gasherbrum I summit July 16, 1990 (19 pages); Cho Oyu summit September 26, 1991 solo (2 pages); Annapurna winter attempt 1987 and south face summit October 22, 1991 solo (15 pages); Dhaulagiri aborted attempt 1991 (3 pages); Yalung Kang (8505m) winter 1988/89 attempt, and Kangchenjunga attempts in 1991 and 1992 (24 pages); Wanda Rutkiewicz died May 12 or 13, 1992 on Kangchenjunga. There are transcripts of many of her personal letters from expeditions across the world. There are many photos.
In 1989 Wanda joined a British women's expedition to Gasherbrum II, including married women and mothers. We see some firsthand insight into the expedition from Wanda's letters, including the bad weather they faced. Once the weather improved and as soon as the biggest avalanches had come down, the women were back on the mountain to set up Camps III and IV. [Wanda] 'Next day I was a bit slower than my rather younger partner Rhona Lampard, but we reached the summit, with me filming all the way up. I felt the sort of solemnity that you feel in church. I think God must live somewhere in the mountains.' Wanda Rutkiewicz and Rhona Lampard reached the summit of Gasherbrum II on July 12, 1989.
The book is written in a straightforward manner, factual and to the point. We do get some insights into Wanda as a person through her relationship with the author and her letters. The photos are very good.
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For news on Gasherbrum II expeditions, I check the following regularly:
There are a few informational Gasherbrum websites, with my favourites being:
Gasherbrum II Expeditions:
I thoroughly enjoy reading other people's travelogues and looking through their photos. Here are my favourites on Mustang:
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In addition to the following DVDs and Videos please see youtube.com Gasherbrum II videos.
Filmed and released 2010. 49 minutes. Directed by Ludo Challeat. In French. Available for download at expes.com/Gasherbrum2. This video follows guide Ludovic Challeat, climbers Thomas Grenier, Christian Maurel, Yves Blazer, Marc Dreyer, and Jean-Marc Wojcik, and Pemba Sherpa as they attempt to climb Gasherbrum II in June - July 2010. Interviews with the climbers are interspersed with the climbing footage.
The film starts in Islamabad, the flight to Skardu, the jeep ride to Askole, hiring the porters, visiting a school, the trek to base camp, singing and dancing at Paiju, passing Nameless Trango Tower, the Cathedral, Masherbrum, Gasherbrum IV, Broad Peak and K2. They set up base camp and prepare the route across the glacier, and climb in deep snow to set up Camp 1 (5900m) and Camp 2 (6400m), Camp 3 (7000m) and Camp 4 (7400m). They descend to base camp, cooking, making chapattis, eating, showering, reading books, shaving, waiting out the bad weather, waiting, waiting, waiting for a good weather window.
When 5 days of good weather are forecasted, the team climbs through the glacier again and up to camps 1, 2, 3, and 4. Ludo and Pemba break the trail from Camp 4 to the top. At 9:30 am Sunday, July 11 Ludo Challeat, Pemba Sherpa and Thomas Grenier reach the summit of Gasherbrum II, after five hours of intense effort. The view of the surrounding peaks, including K2, Broad Peak, and Gasherbrums is excellent. Christian Maurel followed one hour later, and Marc (Marco) Dreyer stood on top 90 minutes after the first ones. Jean-Marc Wojcik and Yves Blazer remained in Camp 4 after a difficult, windy night. They descend to base camp and celebrate with a cake. They dismantle base camp and trek over the Gondogoro La to Hushe.
I really enjoyed this film. It is expertly filmed, perfectly paced, and contrasts the climbing with interviews with the climbers. The mountain views are excellent, including Gasherbrum I, Gasherbrum IV, Chogolisa, K2 and, of course, Gasherbrum II. The trek to base camp is short but well documented. The terrain of the climbing route is shown so well it makes me feel like I know the route myself.
Filmed and released 2011. 20 minutes. Filmed and narrated by Cory Richards. See this video in 5 parts at thenorthfacejournal.com.
The first part starts with Simone Moro talking about Winter expeditions showing footage of Simone and Denis Urubko on their Makalu winter ascent in 2009. It then follows Simone Moro, Denis Urubko and Cory Richards as they acclimatize on Khosar Gang (6400m). After packing we see the military helicopter ride from Paiju to Gasherbrum Base Camp passing Trango Towers, K2 and Broad Peak. After setting up base camp, they climb up the Gasherbum Glacier with Gasherbrum II above.
After spending 4 days on the mountain and three days at base camp, they decided to go for the summit when a 36-hour good weather window was forecasted in the next few days. They left base camp in a storm and climbed over consecutive days to Camp I (5900m), Camp II (6500m) and Camp III (6900m) when the weather improved. They left Camp III on February 2, 2001 at 3am. The sun greeted them as they reached 7600m, and they climbed on with Denis leading the last section to the summit. Cory: 'And suddenly as if in a dream we were there on top of Gasherbrum II in the heart of Winter.' Denis Urubko, Simone Moro, and Cory Richards completed the first Winter Ascent of any Pakistani 8000m peak on February 2, 2011 when they reached the summit of Gasherbrum II. After some beautiful summit video with congratulations and thanks, they start their descent.
They made it back to Camp III that night in worsening weather and only to Camp I the next day. Cory: 'The following morning after our fifth night in freezing sleeping bags we began the descent to base camp in terrible weather, the worst we'd seen yet. ... As a massive avalanche off the slopes of G5 overtook us the world became chaotic and black. ... All three buried. Miraculously we all survived. Six arduous hours later, two major crevasse falls, we walked the final 100m to base camp.'
The filming is absolutely excellent, clearly showing the dangerous conditions, the bad weather, the freezing temperatures and the elation of reaching the summit. The sunrise on Denis and Simone on summit day is spectacular.
Directed by Werner Herzog. Filmed 1984. Released 1985. 45 minutes. Overdubbed in English. Herzog follows Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander as they attempt the first traverse of two 8000m peaks, Gasherbrum II and I. Messner: “Nothing like this has ever been tried before. We’ve got no points of reference.” Instead of focusing on the climbing, Herzog want to know: “What goes on inside mountain climbers who undertake such extreme endeavours. What is the fascination that drives them up to the peaks like addicts? Aren’t these mountains and peaks like something deep down inside us all?”
Herzog follows the expedition to Skardu where Messner buys supplies and selects the porters. They drive to Dasso and then trek along the Braldu river and up the Baltoro Glacier to Base Camp. Messner is interviewed in a hot spring near Askole, and several times at Base Camp, including a very humourous one with a porter giving him a vigorous massage. Messner mentions that they "climb freestyle. Each of us is responsible for himself." He talks about descending Nanga Parbat in 1970 with his brother Gunther dying and how it changed his life. "I didn’t care if I died or not … when I got home I had this feeling that my life began anew with that tragedy." When Herzog asks him how he broke the news of Gunther's death to their mother, Messner breaks down and sobs.
Messner and Kammerlander than leave for their climb, with Herzog following them with long telephoto scenes of them on the glacier and a slow telephoto pan from the two climbers low on the route, up, up along the route to the summit, clearly showing the length and scale of their climb. Messner uses a small movie camera to film Hans Kammerlander arriving on the summit of Gasherbrum II on June 25, 1984, the view from Gasherbrum II, and their climb in bad weather to the summit of Gasherbrum I on June 28, 1984. They finally cross the glacier and arrive back in Base Camp. Messner is interviewed again as he bathes naked in a glacial pool.
DVD5 of Werner Herzog's Documentaries and Shorts DVD collection also has The great ecstasy of Woodcarver Steiner (1973, 44 minutes), No one will play with me (1976, 14 minutes), Ballad of the Little Soldier (1984, 44 minutes), and Werner Herzog eats his shoe (1980, 21 minutes).
The Best Of The European Outdoor Film Tour Number 3 features 4 videos: Gasherbrum II (30 minutes, German) - an attempt to speed climb Gasherbrum II in 2006 and ski down; Deep Water Soloing - South East Asia (8 minutes, English) - young teenagers rock climb on the unclimbed islands off the coast of Thailand; Ice Trek Northpole (33 minutes, English) - Jon Muir and Eric Phillips ski-trek 908km in 58 days in 2002 from Siberia to the North Pole; Tracking The Soul (24 minutes, German) - 2004 film about two young and reckless cross-country skiers on the search for their perfect tracks, traveling through the alps in a run-down bus.
Gasherbrum II, a film from Niko Jaeger And Michael Halberstadt, opens with interviews with Benedikt Bohm and Sebastian Haag, two extreme mountaineering skiers. There also are interview with mountaineer Hans Kammerlander. They travel up the Karakorum Highway and on to Askole and trek to Gasherbrum Base Camp. After clearing the camp sites and seeing some of base camp life, they climb on the glacier to Camp 1 and descend to Base Camp in snowy weather where they relax. They then climb up to Camp 2 and ski down, climb up to Camp 3 at 7000m and ski down again. After climbing up to the summit ridge, Benedikt Bohm and Sebastian Haag reached the summit of Gasherbrum II at 8am on July 29, 2006. They ski down slowly and carefully to within 500 vertical metres of Gasherbrum Base Camp.
Now they are ready to try their speed ascent of Gasherbrum II. They climbed to Camp 4 at 7500m in just 6 hours, but took another 6 and a half hours of tough climbing to reached the Gasherbrum II summit for the second time in a week on August 4, 2006. They then ski down again in 4 hours back to Camp 1, and then trek out to base camp, physically beat.
The filming is excellent, showing the beauty of Gasherbrum II, the expansiveness of the surrounding area, and all aspects of the climb. The pacing is tight with good use of the climbers sharing their thoughts. The skiing scenes using helmet cams are especially good, giving you a firsthand view of the dangerous terrain and the exhilaration of the skiing.
by Karl Unterkircher. See this 17-minute video in two parts at: Gasherbrum II North Face - karlunterkircher YouTube Video. The video describes the 2007 Italian expedition with climbers Karl Unterkircher, Daniele Bernasconi and Michele Compagnoni to attempt to be the first to climb the North Face of Gasherbrum II from the Chinese side. The video starts with their trek to Base Camp through wild desert-like country with camels carrying the equipment and also used to carry the people across raging rivers. After setting up base camp, the climb starts on a large rock pillar before moving to the steep snow. Each of the climbers is interviewed.
After resting at base camp, the three climbers set off for the summit. We clearly see their exposure as they climb up very steep snowy slopes. Up and up they go until we see the summit ridge. Karl films Daniele as he climbs the last few steps to the summit. Karl Unterkircher and Daniele Bernasconi reached the Gasherbrum II summit on July 20, 2007. The two climbers film the panoramic view from the summit - beautiful.
The filming is very good and is very professional. The pace is fairly fast, but each part of the trek and climb is shown in a reasonable amount of detail.
by Sebastian Alvaro. Al Filo De Lo Imposible, Spanish TV. 57 minutes. Released 2005. Karakorum contains three films: a 1997 attempt on the west face of Amin Brakk (5850m) (15 minutes), a 1996 kayak trip down the rapids of the Indus River (15 minutes), and 1996 expeditions to Gasherbrum I and Gasherbrum II (24 minutes). This DVD has one other film, El Territorio del Leopardo, 72 minutes, that shows an attempt to climb Broad Peak in the Winter of 2003.
The Gasherbrum film starts with the trek to base camp, showing somewhat frightening scenes of crossing a river in a basket, doctor Jose Gazo treating porters, arriving at base camp, and crossing glaciers on the way to the Gasherbrums.
Juan Tomas and Iñaki Ochoa de Olza reached the summit of Gasherbrum I on July 10 and safely returned to Base Camp. While Al Filo was following Spanish climbers attempting Gasherbrum II, they were interrupted to try and help Manuel Alvarez Diaz who fell while descending from the summit of Gasherbrum I on July 11, injuring his back, neck, and one eye. He was unable to continue and was lowered by his partner Alfonso Juez to Camp 3, but rescue was impossible due to avalanche hazard. He died on July 17. There is radio communication with Camp 3 and interviews with climbers and the doctor.
The climbing continues on Gasherbrum II with Jose Carlos Tamayo, Ramon Portilla, and Iñaki Ochoa de Olza reaching the summit of Gasherbrum II on July 29, 1996.
The filming is very good, showing the climbing routes, and the story is exciting.
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