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Gasherbrum II Expedition Is Hit By Avalanche

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia.

Cory Richards, Simone Moro, and Denis Urubko, who knocked down the first winter ascent of Gasherbrum II last week on February 2, were hit by an avalanche on their way down to base camp, according to All climbers are unhurt.

Due to new snow, the trio were breaking trail longer than usual in the dangerous zone underneath Gasherbrum V when a serac crashed down and triggered the massive avalanche. Moro came out on top, unroped, and hurried to dig out Richards and Urubko, whose faces were free but were otherwise buried.

"What happened was what could've happened on any stormy day in winter when you are tired and you do not do the normal things," said Moro, the expedition leader. "It's not that we took too many risks. It's just that the conditions were bad."

Later, still headed down to base camp with diminishing visibility, Richards slipped into a crevasse, but the other climbers were able to pull him out.

"Today luck was on our side," Moro said. "In my backpack I was also carrying down a big bag of rubbish, so maybe the mountain appreciated and graced us."

--Nick Davidson

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