Abruzzi Spur

>> Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Carl Drew climbing ladders on Abruzzi Spur The standard route of ascent, used far more than any other route, is the Abruzzi Spur, located on the Pakistani side, first attempted by Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi in 1909. This is the southeast ridge of the peak, rising above the Godwin Austen Glacier. The spur proper begins at an altitude of 5,400 m/18,000 ft, where Advanced Base Camp is usually placed. The route follows an alternating series of rock ribs, snow/ice fields, and some technical rock climbing on two famous features, "House's Chimney" and the "Black Pyramid." Above the Black Pyramid, dangerously exposed and difficult to navigate slopes lead to the easily visible "Shoulder," and thence to the summit. The last major obstacle is a narrow couloir known as the "Bottleneck," which places climbers dangerously close to a wall of seracs which form an ice cliff to the east of the summit. It was partly due to the collapse of one of these seracs around 2001 that no climbers summated the peak in 2002 and 2003.

On August 1, 2008, a number of climbers went missing when a serac in the Bottleneck snapped and broke their ropes. Survivors were seen from a helicopter but rescue efforts were impeded by the high altitude. Eleven were never found, and presumed dead.

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