There will be a Catalan expedition to the Gasherbrums led by Lluís Cortadellas this summer.
The five members of the expedition, Albert Vilarroya, Ignasi Sala, Ferran Pérez, Gonzalo Fernández and Lluís Cortadellas, have taken the name of ‘The Altitude Team’ and intend to ascend Gasherbrum I and II without supporting Sherpas or oxygen.
Lluis Cortadellas is the one with the most experience. He was lucky enough to be able to accompany Sergi Mingote on his return to elite mountaineering, after leaving politics. He was part of his first expedition in which Mingote crowned Broad Peak first and K2 after. Cortadellas got caught at the Broad Peak bottleneck, at about 8,025 metres, causing frostbite in his feet that prevented him from facing K2 later.
Cortadellas will carry a very special object that means a lot to him. He had a blacksmith from Puigcerdá make a plaque in memory of Sergi Mingote and hopes to put it on the memorial when arriving at the K2 base camp, near where the Parets del Vallès mountaineer lost his life on January 16.
For the past few weeks Cortadellas and his companions have had to cope with the complex situation regarding their travel into Pakistan. Several times they have had to modify their travel route due to the difficulties of flying.
Finally though, and after many changes, they were able to end a marathon trip that took them first from Barcelona airport to Istanbul. From the Turkish city to Dubai, then to Karachi, then on to Islamabad. In total 4 planes and almost two days of travel!
Upon arrival in Islambad, they must wait until June 19 to catch an internal flight to Skardu from where all the trekking and expeditions depart. From here they will take a jeep to Askole. From this town they will start the approach trek -7 days plus one of rest- that will take them to Jula, Paiju, Urdukas, Goro II, Concordia (4,650m) and to the Gasherbrum I base camp (5,000m) where they hope to arrive on the 28th of June.
His intention is to pitch the tents at Camp 1, a space shared by the two Gasherbrums, which in the Balti language means “beautiful mountain”. These two peaks are part of a set of mountains, led by K2, located in the northeast area of the Baltoro Glacier, in the Karakorum mountain range.
According to the latest conversations with Mansur from the local agency Karakoram Tours Pakistan (KTP) this summer season in the Gasherbrum there will be a maximum of 60 people. The covid-19 pandemic and the fact that until last week Pakistan did not authorize Nepalese agencies to operate on Pakistani soil greatly reduced the presence of mountaineers.
Gasherbrum II is the first objective of the young mountaineers of The Altitude Team. It is considered one of the most accessible eight thousand, although there of course are no easy eight thousanders!
Only Everest and Cho Oyu have more ascents than GII.
After ascending to the GII Lluís Cortadellas and Gonzalo Fernández will return to Barcelona, while the other three components will try to ascend to the GI. Cortadellas only participates in the first part of the expedition for a very special reason. In mid-August he will be a father.
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