Three Ice Warriors have embraced a glorious end.
An end which has made them immortals in the annals of history.
An end which has epitomised their struggle to explore, dream, endeavour and discover.
They wrestled against the vows of nature, well-aware of the risks involved. These warriors must have a deep satisfying smiles on their faces when they must have realised that time has finally come, waiting somewhere in makeshift bivouac,
hoping that a rescue team might show up any moment. Their unbeatable valour and courage, brings back the memories of the warriors from the medieval times, which knew no fear, and laid down their lives even when outnumbered and outsmarted.
Goodbye Gerfried Goschl, Cedric Hahlen and Nisar Hussain.
The three member International team, which started their second summit push on Friday, March 9, never made it back to the camp. They were last seen some 400 meters short of the peak, by one of the Polish team member Alex Txikon, just before a fierce storm started pounding the 8,068 meters Gasherbrum-1. Poles made it safely to the Base Camp in midnight, the International team never did.
The rescue attempts, supported by several Pakistani climbers and Pakistan Military choppers, have now been called off. Gerfried’s brother, Wolfgang Goschl, who flew to Pakistan two days ago, finally decided to abandon the search and Rescue Operations. A small ceremony was conducted in the Base Camp.
“The search flights in Pakistan have recently been completed. Both sides of the mountain were flown by two helicopters. There are no signs of life of the climbers were discovered. It is now seen at the time to face reality. As hard as it falls to us all and they let go, we have no
choice. We really want to thank you all very much, have in recent days, hoping and praying with us. The press, we now ask ourselves in our grief and let alone in our pain”.
The three regular mountaineers have now turned themselves into legends. They will usher a new era in hard climbing-winter ascents and will help many around the world, learn from the mistakes they made.
International Team led by Austrian Goschl, who also has a brilliant record of winter climbs on several of the 8000ers in the world, were pitched to summit the G-1 also known as the Hidden Peak from the South side, a route which was never treaded before. Goschl was accompanied by Hahlen (Swiss), Nisar (Pakistan) and Carlos Suarez (Spain) and had charted out a thoroughly revised, water-tight plan to not only summit the peak but also pull an unprecedented Winter Ascent and Traverse.
Goschl relied heavily on his good friend Hussain who has climbed the peak several times, supporting expeditions in the capacity of a High Altitude Porter (HAP). He was also one of the youngest and the first Pakistani to summit all five 8000ers in the country.
After several weeks of constant struggle, the team managed to pitch camps all the way up to 6800meters, wrestling fierce
storms and the deadly Jetstream that pounded the Karakorum in January. They braced temperatures as low as -50 Celsius with wind speeds surging to a horrendous 200km/h.
They remained steadfast and persevered against the odds and finally made their first summit push in the mid of February. They had to face a quick withdrawal as the weather worsened and barely made to the Base Camp. They waited for another weather window which might give them the chance to summit the peak for the first time in winters, little realizing that they would never be able to return to the Base Camp to soak their feet in hot water.
The three-member team disappeared on March 9 at an approximate height of 7,700meters. They were last spotted by Alex just before a raging storm hit the mighty Gasherbrum-1, reducing visibility to zero. An already prevailing Solar Storm had disrupted radio and Sat-Phone communications between the climbers and the Base Camp, adding up to the difficulties in tracing the trio. Their route, which comprised of an ascent from the south and a descent from the north, further piled up the difficulties in tracing the lost climbers in the four-day Search and Rescue Operations that followed.
Pakistan Military provided two choppers which remain grounded for the first three days of the SAR operations as low
visibility and bad weather prevented them from carrying out the operations. Goshcl’s brother Wolfgang, finally decided to pull off the rescue attempts after six days.
“I’m not dead, I change only the rooms. I’m into you and go through your dreams”. (Michelangelo).