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EverestHistory.com: Ardito Desio




K2 as seen from Concordia
In 1954, an Italian expedition came to Pakistan to try its luck on K2. It consisted of twelve climbers and four scientists and was led by veteran mountaineer, Professor Ardito Desio, who had come to these mountains with Italian expeditions before the World War II.
 
Colonel M. Ataullah and Arshad Munir accompanied the expedition from Karakoram Club of Pakistan. Captain (later Lt. General) G.S. Butt was the liaison officer.  Poor weather hindered the progress of the party for a pretty long time. As soon as the weather cleared, the party made very good progress and set up camp II. It was at this camp that one of its members, Mario Puchoz, a 36-year old guide, died of pneumonia on the 21st June. It Is believed that he had contracted high altitude pulmonary oedema (water on the lungs) which was not well known at the time and does not respond to antibiotics.


K2 Base Camp

 

The party established six more camps on the south-east ridge. Camp IX was a bivouac. On the 31st of July, Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni started from the bivouac.  They exhausted their oxygen supply 500 feet short of summit but could not resist the temptation to be the first to climb the mighty K2 peak. They, therefore, continued their assault and reached the summit at six in the evening. After staying for a while they started descending and reached Camp VIII round about eleven at night. In this way the saga of K2 ended.

Ardito Desio died on Wednesday at 104! He was an explorer, geologist and cartographer and the leader of the first successful K2 Expedition. Desio lead scientific expedition into his 90's. He was the first Italian to reach the South Pole in 1962. His greatest achievement was this 1954 expedition to K2, which he organized, that had 2 climbers (Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni ) reach the Summit.

Did you miss ? The Ashraf Aman Q&A, the 9th person to Summit K2. A great Q&A!






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