23.07.1994, Abruzzi route, "Odessa" alpine club expedition.
|"We found the bodies
of our friends two hundred meters before the summit. The climbing
lost any sense…"
Members of expedition:
1. Sviridenko V.S., leader of the expedition
2. Boiko V.
3. Dudko V.
4. Gorbenko M.
5. Haraldin A.
6. Ibrahim-Zade D.
7. Mogyla V.
8. Parkhomenko A.
9. Serpak A.
10. Terzyul V.
11. Vlasenko A.
12. Zavershinskiy Yu.
Sviridenko V., Master of Sport, Honoured Coach of Ukraine, city
K-2 is a very difficult mountain, and the traditional route via
the Abruzzi ridge is extremely dangerous. Therefore we developed
a tactic allowing a climb in two ascents. That is why an ascent
to Rackiot peak was planned, so the men would come to K-2 already
acclimatized. Groups were formed of four people each. Serpak, Parkhomenko,
Ibrahim-Zade and Haraldin went first to the mountain. They had to
decide their course. My plan was the same as for Kanchenjunga, to
give everybody a chance to climb. A day before our group a team
of famous western climbers were ascending, including Velitskiy,
Rob Hall, V. Gustafson and others, but 100 meters before the summit
bad weather forced them to turn back to their assault camp. Our
guys went out to attempt the summit that night, leaving their portable
radio behind. Serpak returned, but the other three did not come
back. It was necessary to find out what had happened. So one more
attempt to summit was undertaken. After estimating the condition
of the team members, I understood that only Terzyul and Gorbenko
were able to go. Terzyul was in perfect shape. He was going quickly
and joined some Germans (Amical, V.Gustafson and others) on the
final stretch of the route. Together they reached the bodies of
our deceased friends. Then they continued to the summit. The Germans
promised Terzyul they would help tie up the bodies on the way back,
but left him alone to bury his friends. The weather got worse and
everybody hurried down. At twilight our climbers descended to summit
Gorbenko M., Honoured Master of Sport, city of Odessa:
The expedition to K-2 was started unusually, with acclimatization
on the massif of Nanga Parbat and ascent to Rakhiot peak (7134m).
Since the beginning Vladislav steadily recorded with a video camera.
He proved to be creative in his movies about Ukrainian expeditions
in the Himalayas and Karakoram. On the way to Nanga Parbat he was
so enthusiastic documenting with the video camera that an avalanche
almost appeared in there. But what pictures he got!
During a break in Skardu, we celebrated Vladislav’s birthday and
wished him to summit all the world’s eight thousand meter peaks.
Possibly at that time he decided for himself to climb without the
use of supplementary oxygen. This had been achieved before him by
only one or two persons. We worked on the route of K2 with three
groups. Vladislav and I chose not to use oxygen in our group from
the very beginning. In summer 1994 Mt. Chogori (K2) resisted all
the attempts of foreign alpinists to pass the Abruzzi ridge. Deep
snow and stormy wind had closed the summit for two weeks. However,
our expedition settled down in BC at 5300m and intermediate camps
C1 (6100m), C2 (6800m) and C3 (7400m). The group led by A. Parkhomenko
and A. Serpak, during the second ascent, reached the elevation of
7800m and set up C4 on the 9th of July.
V.Terzyul is reaching C2.
K2 from the summit camp C4.
Next day this group, including Alexander Parkhomenko, Dmitriy Ibrahim-Zade,
Alexey Haraldin and Alexander Serpak, with permission from the head
of the expedition, V. Sviridenko, left for the summit at 2:00 at
night. The weather was normal. They had observed patches of clouds
till 17:00 o’clock, when the weather abruptly got worse. A.Serpak
came back to C4 from around 8000m and informed us that the guys
had assaulted the summit without their portable radio.
Our group, making its third ascent, reached C3 (7400m) on that day.
Next day we three, with wind and no visibility which increased the
difficulty of finding fixed ropes and landmarks, climbed the shoulder.
We came to the tent of A.Serpak’s group and were informed that three
people did not come back. At once, Vladislav Terzyul and Yuriy Zavershinskiy
made an attempt to rescue them but were forced to return. Next day
Vladislav and I again tried to reach at least 8000m, marking our
way. The next four days of waiting for weather and attempting to
pass through the storm ended without result. It was necessary to
rescue ourselves because we had been trapped. The way down was blocked
by avalanche-prone slopes without fixed ropes. Having discussed
the situation with Vladislav we arrived at a decision to fix all
three ropes available and cut along the slope vertically. The dangerous
descent finished successfully and all six guys arrived at BC on
the 16th of July. At that time Americans, Germans and Koreans climbed
to C2, stopped and in a day again came back into BC.
Vladislav arranged a good sauna in a tent and possibly due to that
we recovered in two days and were ready to go upward again. We were
in good condition and literally jumped up to C2, ascending 1500m.
K2, a zone of assault.
We had been followed by five foreign climbers. On July 22 there
was nice weather. On July 23 at 00:30 I along with Vladislav put
on crampons and left our tent under frost and stars. At 8000m we
had radio contact. We passed a key pitch, “the bottle,” a zone of
steep icy walls under a huge icefall, at dawn. We moved using the
rope by turns and traversed the wall to the left, then went straight
upward. We had come to a snow slope where about 10:00am, at the
altitude of 8350m, we found our frozen friends, A. Parkhomenko and
A.Haraldin, clipped to the icy fixed rope. Dmitriy was not found.
While we looked over the place of tragedy and took photos five foreign
climbers appeared walking 80 meters to our right. Vladislav decided
to join them. I stayed, providing radio communication with BC to
agree on further actions. The decision was made to prolong the search
on the way to the summit. The last 100 meters were the hardest ones
because of deep snow, especially on such a height and without oxygen.
At 13:00 I was at the icy hat of K2. I did not see any new information
about what happened. I fixed the pennant of our alpine club “Odessa”
with pieces of ice. Many years later a Spanish climber, Vladislav’s
friend, gave this pennant back to him. When I was on the top, Vladislav
by himself made a rope system and put the bodies into the ice crack.
We proceeded searching during our descent but the weather abruptly
got worse (this is a specific feature of Chogori), and we were forced
to struggle for survival. The ropes that we fixed during our way
uphill and the landmarks we put in were very useful.
V.Terzyul on the top of K2.
Vladislav and I have never had such a hard climb. When we descended,
evacuating intermediate camps, Vladislav surprised me again by pulling
out pieces of old ropes – souvenirs of a famous mountain – from
his backpack. Those ropes as well as ones brought from other peaks
presented to me by my friend are hanging in the alpine club and
in my home. They remind me about that Great Alpinist who loved high
mountains more than his own life!