Simone Moro and Joby Ogwyn's adventure on Batura II (7762m Pakistan - Karakorum), the highest still unclimbed peak in the world, has come to an abrupt end. After having reached the summit of Batokschi (6050m) via a new route and "after 3 days of Alpine style climbing without any ropes during all the difficult and the dangerous climb" the American mountaineer and cameraman was hit by an avalanche during the descent. Thankfully he was able to raise the alarm, contacting Simone Moro who, descending faster, had already safely reached basecamp.
Moro and the expedition cook immediately rescued Ogwyn whose medical condition, according to Moro, "said that probably nothing is broken but he has to rest and recover some weeks due to the ankle and hip traumas." The expedition finishes in advance therefore, with the summits of Batokschi and Ya Chhish, (5130m) but Batura II still untouched. As Simone however writes "one member of the expedition could have left us had fortune not smiled upon us..."
The expedition diary: www.simonemoro.it
by Simone Moro
In the day we summited Batokschi Peak 6050m after 3 days of Alpine style climb without any rope during all difficult and dangerous climb.... we began the long descent along a different and unknown route ... We climbed down for long time in Piolet Traction on a delicate and dangerous ice and snow. Some vertical sections requested us the maximum concentration. The high danger of avalanche obliged us to be fast, extremely fast, but the difficulties were always high...
Unfortunately Joby was behind me and he did his best to be efficient and concentrate as he climbed down well but taking his time. Waiting for him under seracs and cornice would have been suicide... I was in base camp drinking cold juice and doing a sat phone call when Joby called me on the radio.
"Simone... I've been hit by an avalanche...I survived as a miracle but... I think I broke my ankle and hip and am seriously injured... " It took me some seconds to realize the meaning of those words...
I immediately started the rescue effort, mostly realized from Didar (the cook) and with help from Karim (cook assistant) and me. During the long and painful (for Joby) walk down on the moraine till base camp, I did some sat phone calls to our agency, Adventure Tour Pakistan, to request a helicopter evacuation the day after. Today at 12:20 an army helicopter arrived at base camp and took Joby and me to Gilgit... Joby has some difficulties and pain to move the leg and walk but the first medical control said that probably nothing is broken but he has to rest and recover some weeks as a ankle and hip traumas.
The expedition is finished in advance, with 2 summit reached and one new route, but our principal aim is failed due the bad luck. We are happy because all that is missing is the sport result, Batura 2, but not the life of someone...
I would like to thank Ashraf Aman and his staff Essar and Neiknam for the strong and fast "diplomatic" effort to obtain the military helicopter for us. Unique and great job!!!!
Thanks to God for the epilogue of the accident and the facts......
by Simone Moro
Photos: the line (in green) of the new route on Batokschi, in red the route which Moro and Ogwynhad intended to climb to reach the summit of Batura II.
Above: the dangerous crest