Arlene's Blog

Monday, November 07, 2005

Saturday Nov 5 The 1957 Broad Peak Expedition Controversy

At breakfast I sat down next to Qader Saeed an articulate ex-Pakistani army officer who, at age 24 had been the liaison officer for Broad Peak trip, Fritz Wintersteller, who made the first ascent of Broad Peak, the sons of Marcus Schmuck, who was the expedition leader and Fritz’s partner on the climb, and Richard Sale who had written a book and presented a talk yesterday about the climb. They told me in great detail their interesting and well documented story about that climb which is recounted on their website at which says
The ascent of Broad Peak, the world's twelfth highest mountain in 1957 was one of the most important climbs in the history of climbing on the great peaks. A team of four Austrians, carrying their own equipment and dispensing with bottled oxygen, took the climbing ideas of the European Alps to the Himalayas / Karakoram, an advance in tactics which laid the foundation for many of the great ascents which followed. As well as being a landmark, the expedition also resulted in the death of Hermann Buhl, at the time the most famous climber in the world.
They are all embroiled in a bitter controversy with Kurt Diemberger, another member of the expedition, who has a different account of the climb.

I passed on their contact information to Maurice Isserman for his history of Himalayan Mountaineering, with the hope that his writing an unbiased and historically accurate account might calm their conflict with Kurt Diemberger. Apparently Diemberger, in his accounts, downplays the fact that Schmuck and Wintersteller, organized the trip, led to the summit of Broad Peak, and that he climbed Chogolisa without permission. When Sale wanted to include this information in a previous book, Diemberger apparently had Sale’s book changed without his permission. This led to a lot of bad feeling and Sale researching and writing an entire book about the trip.
Then I had another books signing and took part in a panel
Hot Issues Noon-Hour Seminar - Near Misses Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Arlene Blum, Timmy O’Neill, Geoff Powter, and Steve Housediscussing the close calls that are a part of adventure, and what they’ve learned fromtheir experiences. This will be filmed for TVI ended up taking two quick walks partway up a local hill, one with Jennifer Lowe Anker, who is writing a memoir, and a second with a young woman working on an Imax film about glaciers and climate change. In both cases I tried to offer helpful advice for their projects.

20 books signed
Amazon about 10,000


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