7. First Winter Ascent of Gasherbrum II

Storms, crevasses, and an avalanche weren't enough to stop this team

On February 2, Cory Richards, Simone Moro, and Denis Urubko became the first climbers ever to summit one of Pakistan’s 8,000-meter peaks in winter when they reached the summit of Gasherbrum II (26,360 feet). But getting to the top was the easy part. On the descent, the team walked straight into a full-force Himalayan storm, complete with eighty-mile-an-hour winds, and snow that reduced their visibility to near zero. "It was almost like the mountain was pissed that we climbed it,” Richards told Outside. Then, while crossing an icefall beneath Gasherbrum V, a serac split from the mountain, touching off a Class 4 avalanche that buried the team. Miraculously, they all survived. Undeterred, Moro and Urubko are already planning another winter expedition for early 2012, this one to Pakistan’s Nanga Parbat (26,657 feet).

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