Gasherbrum III K3a, is a summit in the Gasherbrum massif of the Baltoro Muztagh, a subrange of the Karakoram on the border between Xinjiang, China and Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. It is situated between Gasherbrum II and IV. Gasherbrum III fails to meet a 500 metres (1,600 ft) topographic prominence cutoff to be an independent mountain; hence it can be considered a subpeak of Gasherbrum II. Gasherbrum III was one of the highest unclimbed summits in the world up to its first ascent in 1975, by Wanda Rutkiewicz, Alison Chadwick-Onyszkiewicz, Janusz Onyszkiewicz and Krzysztof Zdzitowiecki, members of a Polish expedition. Gasherbrum III (G III) is located far away into the wilderness and that’s one of the reasons it only has been summited twice. Even if the peak is one of the highest in the world at 7952 meters, usually ranked as number 15, very few climbers have it as a goal. The mountain can for sure blame this fact on its neighbours. G III is only the third highest in the Gasherbrum Group, where Gasherbrum I or Hidden Peak is the highest at 8068m. Second is Gasherbrum II at 8032m. The slightly lower, Gasherbrum IV is also a more interesting object to attempt as it’s arguably the only peak considered a tougher climb than K2. Gasherbrum III was for a long time the highest unclimbed peak in the world.
The route is in the beginning the same as on the slightly higher Gasherbrum II, but high up on the G II’s long SW ridge, you have to “take a left” under the impressive granite face of G II. This is also the route Carlos Carsolio took when he solo-climbed the face in 1995. They say size doesn’t matter, but in this case it does and if Gasherbrum I is Hidden Peak, Gasherbrum III may be called Forgotten Peak.
The Polish first ascent
In 1975 Wanda Rutkiewicz wanted to organize the first female expedition to the Himalayas/Karakorams. She and eight of her female partners had the permission to climb the then unclimbed Gasherbrum III. At the same time there was also a “male expedition” which wanted to climb new route on the right/east flank of Gasherbrum II. This party never received a permit, so they couldn’t go. Even before departure some problems hit the expedition. In 1975 Poland was a communist country so everything (clothes, equipment, food, etc.) was difficult, sometimes almost impossible to get. Therefore every expedition wanted to get status of a national expedition, representing Poland. If receiving this status the PZA – Polski Zwiazek Alpinizmu (Polish Association of Alpinism) sponsor with money and helps out with organizing the expedition. Rutkiewicz’s team was depending on PZA’s support, but the organization didn’t accept an all female expedition. The PZA came up with the idea of merging Rutkiewicz’s team with the team which were supposed to go to Gasherbrum II. Officially the men should act like a support team and if the women failed to reach the summit, the male team would go for the second try on Gasherbrum III. The male team was also hoping to get the permission to climb Gasherbrum II upon arrival in Pakistan. They flew to Pakistan as one team, so when they arrived in base camp the liaison officer, Captain Saed gave male team the permission to climb Gasherbrum II. Bad luck struck the male team as the planned route on Gasherbrum II had been climbed only a few days before their arrival. The 18’th of June 1975 Frenchclimbers Yanick Seigneur and Mark Batard “stole” the route from the Poles.
|No of Days||From||To|
|Day 8||hrdokas||goro 2|
|Day 9||goro 2||concordia|
|Day 10||concordia||rest day|
|Day 11||rest day||shagring|
|Day 12||shagring||gahsbrum base camp|
|Day 34||hrdokas||mongrong dera|
|Day 35||mongrong dera||askoli|
|Day 39||islamabad||extra day|
|Day 40||Islamabad||fly back|