1953 American Karakoram Expedition

1953 American Karakoram Expedition

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The 1953 American Karakoram expedition was a mountaineering expedition to K2, at 8,611 metres the second highest mountain on Earth. It was the fifth expedition to attempt K2, and the first since the Second World War. Led by Charles Houston, a mainly American team attempted the mountain's South-East Spur in a style which was unusually lightweight for the time. The team reached a high point of 7750 m, but were trapped by a storm in their high camp, where a team member, Art Gilkey, became seriously ill. A desperate retreat down the mountain followed, during which all but one of the climbers were nearly killed in a fall arrested by Pete Schoening, and Gilkey later died in an apparent avalanche. The expedition has been widely praised for the courage shown by the climbers in their attempt to save Gilkey, and for the team spirit and the bonds of friendship it fostered.

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