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Karakoram '99

The Dispatches

K2: Not This Time Around
Hushe Valley, Pakistan: August 25, 1999
"K2 Base Camp, known as "the Strip," is vacant. The Baltoro Glacier is almost devoid of climbers, but don't turn out the lights yet because the best show in town is still around..."

Baintha Brakk: Still the Ogre
Hushe Valley, Pakistan: August 23, 1999
"Its omnious, sheer east wall looks like a medieval fortress with no gateway..."

Fifty Two and Over The Hill
Hushe Valley, Pakistan: August 22, 1999
"52-year-old French alpinsist, Hugues D'Aubare, reached the summit of Gasherbrum II (8,035 meters) on August 3rd..."

American Team Summits GII
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: August 20, 1999
"Chris Boskoff, Greg Ritchie, and Jeff Rhoads finally reached the summit of Gasherbrum II...She [Chris] is now the only American woman to have summited four 8,000 meter peaks..."

Curtain Call in the Karakoram
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: August 19, 1999
"The American Gasherbrum IV (7,925 meters) team, led by Steve Swenson, making a summit bid up the complex south ridge this week..."

Norwegians Summit Trango Pulpit
Islamabad, Pakistan: August 17, 1999
"They spent 35 days on the 2,200 meter vertical wall in capsule style, sleeping on hanging portaledges...'"

The Ultimate Adventure
Rawalpindi, Pakistan: August 16, 1999
"The first sight of Fathi Peak's ominous north wall overwhelmed them. 'It blew me away. El Cap seemed like a boulder in comparison...'"

"Little Karim"- King of the Karakoram
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: August 14, 1999
"'Little Karim'...even Messner says (he) is one of the world's strongest climbers above 8,000 meters...'"

Spanish Team Summits Nanga Parbat
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: August 13, 1999
"The Spanish ascent of Nanga Parbat completes a local alpine clubís quest to summit all five 8,000 meter peaks in Pakistan..."

Japanese Climbers Feared Dead on Batura I
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: August 13, 1999
"Three Japanese climbers on Batura I (7,785 meters) are missing and believed dead after an avalanche hit their 6,500 meter-high camp earlier this week..."

The Snow Leopard
Huspung Camp, Pakistan: August 11, 1999
"We were awoken by a clanging of tin cans. A local shepherd, Gulam, jumped up and told me that there was a snow leopard there..."

Korean Team To Make Last Bid on K2
Huspung Camp, Pakistan: August 11, 1999
"The only expedition left on K2 is the Korean expedition...on the Spanish Route..."

Forced to Retreat from Broad Peak
Broad Peak, Pakistan: August 5 to 10, 1999
"As Carlos and I reached Camp I, Piotr radioed saying that visibility was zero and continuing would be suicidal since he could not find the way up, nor down either..."

First American Ascent of Fathi Peak
Charakusa Basin, Pakistan: August 9, 1999
"Fathi Peak—I'm looking at it right now—is extremely steep, about 80°-90° most of the way. The team made three attempts on the peak..."

French Ascent of Gasherbrum II
Hushe Village, Pakistan: August 8, 1999
"The leader, Pierre Bouchard, informed me that three members reached the summit on the 30th of July..."

18-Year War
Hushe Village, Pakistan: August 6, 1999
"Over 5,000 Pakistan and Indian army troop have fought an 18-year war there, which costs each side over one million dollars per day...."

Riots in Skardu
Skardu, Pakistan: August 6, 1999
"Yesterday, the whole town of Skardu went on strike: there was a riot and burning of tires in the main bazaar area...."

Climbers Descend, While Heinrich Holds On
Broad Peak, Pakistan: August 2 to 5, 1999
"At about 8:30am, five of the members of the Catalan team descended and left behind quite a low morale in the rest of us at Base Camp...."

Broad Peak: One Last Try
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: Wednesday, August 4, 1999
"The Koreans, led by Mr. Park, plan to leave Base Camp by August 14th. They are regrouping for one last summit push after one of their partners died..."

Nanga Parbat: "The Naked Mountain"
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: Wednesday, August 4, 1999
"Whatever Nanga Parbat is and made up of, it is the most mammoth rock I have ever seen. From all sides, its flanks plunge down precipitous walls into deep gorges and valleys below...."

Unsung Heroes Back Home
Skardu, Northern Pakistan: Monday, August 2, 1999
"Lila Bishop, my mother–in–law, told me what it was like when her husband, Barry Bishop, left for months at a time to the Himalayas, Greenland, or Polar regions, 'Once he was out the door, that was it'..."

Korean Climber Presumed Dead
Broad Peak, Pakistan: July 25 to August 1, 1999
"When I sat next to him, he asked if I had seen his partner who went by with him the previous night...I had not seen him, not at 6200 meters, nor at 5700 meters..."

Hydrate or Die!
Dispatch from the Karakoram Highway, Pakistan: Saturday, July 31, 1999
"The flight from Islamabad to Skardu has been weather-cancelled for five days, and a landslide has blocked the Karakoram Highway (KKH) at Staknalla, between Gilgit and Skardu..."

Kohistan on the KKH
Kohistan Tribal Region, Pakistan: Saturday, July 31, 1999
"The KKH is a test of steel nerves along the precipitous Indus River Gorge, through some of the most wild and rugged regions in Pakistan..."

Lowe, Synnott and Ogden Summit the Great Trango Wall
Islamabad, Pakistan: Friday, July 30, 1999
"The imposing Great Trango looks like a handful of Empire State buildings stacked on top of each other..."

Two Austrian Climbers Missing
Islamabad, Pakistan: Friday, July 30, 1999
"This is Greg and I am calling to tell you about the missing Austrian climbers. I am quoting from a Pakistani newspaper..."

Summit Attempts Throughout
Islamabad, Pakistan: Thursday, July 29, 1999
"With a little help from porter and travel agency friends, I've patched together a brief climbing update. As soon as I get on the Baltoro, Inshallah, I hope to get more reliable info....."

Interview w/ Pasquale Scaturro
Islamabad, Pakistan: Wednesday, July 28, 1999
"Pasquale looked like a local Pattan (tribal people from northwestern Pakistan) with his chiseled features and tan. We had a great evening together and he filled me in with a climbing update from Gasherbrum II...."

Climbers and Characters
Islamabad, Pakistan: Tuesday, July 27, 1999
"There are climbers hell bent on a first ascent, novice climbers strapped onto a commercial expedition to crack the 8,000 meter mark, elite climbers like Alex Lowe's Trango Tower expedition and Steve Swenson's Gasherbrum IV group and a few people like Jack who are just here to 'roam around'...."

Skyscrapers & Spires
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Monday, July 26, 1999
"I'm on my way back to Pakistan...Today, I'm in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The minarets of the many mosques here remind me that I am back in a Islamic country..."

Week-Long Update
K2 to Broad Peak: July 17-24, 1999
"I was ready to leave for Camp I this morning when Manuel, Oskar, and Angelo walked by my tent on their way home. We shook hands, hugged each other and then cried. It was as if they were dragging me out with them. I wanted to go with them, but I want to stay: mixed emotions made worse by the bad weather..."

A Change of Plans
K2 Base Camp: Thursday, July 15, 1999
"It was a heartbreaking moment. Silence and grief, a breeze and some clouds surrounding the mountain, growing endless into the sky..."

Morale is Low
K2 Base Camp: Wednesday, July 14, 1999
"The morale at Base Camp is very low. Angelo, Oscar, and Manuel are going back home sometime soon...."

Romanian Climber Killed
K2 Base Camp: Tuesday, July 13, 1999
"The three Italians, by then at Base Camp, got to the scene in three fast hours, but Mihai was already dead, probably due to an internal bleeding and broken shoulder..."

Arrival at Broad Peak
K2 Base Camp: Monday, July 12, 1999
"Here we left Piotr, and the trekkers and I continued to K2 Base Camp, with the news that there had been an accident on the mountain...."

Stuck Between a Truck
Skardu, Pakistan: Sunday, July 4, 1999
"The nervous truck driver, concerned about falling 1000 feet into the Indus River, drove as close as he could to us, getting us stuck between the rock wall and the tractor, denting the sides of our bus..."

Climbing in Pakistan's Paradise
"By June 29th, a record high 82 mountaineering expeditions registered with Pakistan's Ministry of Tourism..."

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