8000m First Ascent – Despite Major Head Injury

by Erik Lambert A new route was establishedlast week by Russians Valery Babanov and Victor Afanasiev on thesouthwest face of Gasherbrum I (8068m) despite Afanasiev suffering asevere head injury from rockfall. Their alpine-style blitz took fourdays, from July 29 to August 1, two weeks after their ascent of BroadPeak (more details on the Alpinist Website). On the night of July 30, their second night on the wall, a rock fallingfrom above ripped through the tent and struck Afanasiev on the head.Babanov spent the remainder of the evening helping his partner controlthe bleeding. “We thought our climbing was over,” Olga Babanova reportsher husband saying over satellite phone. “But we cannot descend thesame way we came up. It was dangerous.” To retreat, the pair was forcedto continue to the ridge, but upon reaching it Afanasiev “decided thathe had the endurance to go to the summit.” Read the full report by Erik Lambert on the Alpinist Website ( Source: Alpinist )