Czech climbers set out to conquer Masherbrum


A trio of Czech mountaineers is setting out to conquer Masherbrum, the 22nd highest peak in the world and the ninth highest in Pakistan. Radoslav Groh, Marek Holeček and Tomáš Petreček are going to climb the western side of the mountain, which has never been attempted before.

Marek Holeček and Radoslav Groh | Photo: Archive of Radoslav Groh

While the world’s highest summit of Mt. Everest has been conquered more than 10,000 times, only four expeditions have reached the peak of Masherbrum to date, most recently in 1985.

Now, 37 years later, a group of Czech mountaineers is planning to ascend the summit, which is over 7,800 metres high, from a new route on its western face.

Radek Groh says the most challenging part of the expedition is to actually map the route in an area which no one has climbed before.

“The driving force for me is Mára [Marek Holeček], who knows the mountains and has an eye for detail. He is the one who will outline the route for us and we will then confront it with as many existing maps and photographs as possible.”

Marek Holeček and Radoslav Groh during their difficult first ascent of the northwest face of the Baruntse Mountain  | Photo: Archive of Radoslav Groh

However, with only four expeditions having reached the summit to date, the available documentation is very limited and the reality may be very different, he says.

Last year, Groh and Holeček made an extremely difficult first ascent of the northwest face of the Baruntse Mountain in the Himalayas, which is over 7,100 metres high.

They named the route Heaven’s Trap, because of a snowstorm that trapped them just below the summit for four long days.

“It is a phenomenal feeling to be the first to climb a mountain that has never been conquered before. I believe that even this time we will be lucky and everything will go smoothly.

“We know that with a little bit of self-denial, we can make it despite any adversity. We have packed stuff for about ten days of climbing, but if necessary, we are ready to stay there as long as it takes.”

Masherbrum | Photo: Kogo,  Wikimedia Commons,  GFDL

The ascent of the Baruntse peak has been recorded in a documentary of the same name. Its director, Tomáš Galásek, will also accompany the climbers on the Masherbrum expedition, recording the entire journey from Czechia through Islamabad to the base camp.

“I am equipped with a lot of close-up lenses and I am able to see and follow these guys on a wall that is two or three kilometres away. That way we can show not only what is going on right on the wall with GoPro cameras, but also the view from the opposite slope. But my job is mainly to record the journey to the basecamp and then it’ll be up the guys.”

If everything goes according to plan, the trio of Czech climbers should reach the basecamp at the foot of Masherbrum in a few days’ time. They plan to start their ascent in the beginning of August.

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Lucie Korcová
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