8000m First Ascent - Despite Major Head Injuryby Erik Lambert Alpinist Aug/2008
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A new route was established last week by Russians Valery Babanov and Victor Afanasiev on the southwest face of Gasherbrum I (8068m) despite Afanasiev suffering a severe head injury from rockfall. Their alpine-style blitz took four days, from July 29 to August 1, two weeks after their ascent of Broad Peak (more details on the Alpinist Website).
On the night of July 30, their second night on the wall, a rock falling from above ripped through the tent and struck Afanasiev on the head. Babanov spent the remainder of the evening helping his partner control the bleeding. "We thought our climbing was over," Olga Babanova reports her husband saying over satellite phone. "But we cannot descend the same way we came up. It was dangerous." To retreat, the pair was forced to continue to the ridge, but upon reaching it Afanasiev "decided that he had the endurance to go to the summit."
Read the full report by Erik Lambert on the Alpinist Website