Broad Peak - Normal Route - 1957

Broad Peak (8051m), in Pakistan's Karakoram mountains, was climbed for the first time by a small Austrian expedition in 1957

First ascent of Broad Peak ( 8051m )

Normal Route

Karakoram, Pakistan

9 June 1957

Climbed by Marcus Schmuck, Fritz Wintersteller, Kurt Diemberger, Hermann Buhl

The first ascent of Broad Peak, in Pakistan's Karakoram mountains, was achieved by a small Austrian expedition in 1957. Broad Peak is the twelfth highest mountain in the world and was the eleventh of world's 14 "eight thosanders" (peaks of at least 8000m) to be climbed. All four of the team members - Marcus Schmuck, Fritz Wintersteller, Kurt Diemberger and Hermann Buhl - reached the summit.

No supplementary oxygen was used, and no porters were used on the mountain - a remarkably lightweight style for an 8000m ascent in this period.

The climbers were accompanied at base camp by two mail runners and by liaison officer Captain Qader Saeed. Though he was not a climber, Qader Saeed reached Camp I.

The route chosen by the expedition lay up the western flank of the mountain, initially up the west spur and then up steep snow and ice slopes beneath the summit pyramid to the 7950m col between the main summit (the highest point) and the central summit. From here the route followed the frontier ridge to the main summit.

Three camps were established above base camp, with the 4 climbers ferrying loads between them in preparation for a summit bid. The final camp was at about 6950m, at the base of summit pyramid.

Some use was made of ropes fixed by an unsuccessful earlier expedition and new ropes were fixed on parts of the route, at least on the section between Camp III and the col.

A first attempt on the summit was made on 29 May. By 6pm the climbers had only reached the fore-summit. The main summit, though only a little higher, was some some distance away along the ridge. With insufficient time left to reach the main summit, the climbers descended.

After a few days rest at base camp, another attempt was made from Camp 3 on 9 June. The climbers operated as two pairs - Schmuck and Wintersteller, then Diemberger and Buhl.

Schmuck and Wintersteller reached the summit first. Buhl was going slowly and the intense cold (the sun doesn't reach the west face until late in the day) was troubling his feet. He had lost two toes due to frostbite after his 1953 ascent of Nanga Parbat. At a shoulder below the fore-summit he decided to wait while Diemberger continued to the summit. Diemberger did so then, while descending, saw Buhl coming towards him. The pair then went to the summit together, reaching it just before nightfall.

All four climbers descended safely.

Wintersteller and Schmuck then made the first ascent of an unnamed 7360m peak in the Savoia Group (later named Skil Brum). Diemberger and Buhl attempted the first ascent of Chogolisa (7665m). They made a summit bid on 27 June, but bad weather forced them to turn back at around 7300m. Descending in poor visibility, Buhl fell through a cornice to his death.

More about this ascent

External references for this climb.

Broad Peak in the Ascent Book

Other climbs on Broad Peak in the Himalayan Climbs mountaineering database

Mountain Facts

Broad Peak, Pakistan

N 35° 48′ 37.818″ W 76° 34′ 7.3164″

Elevation: 8051m