The Extremo Files completes its round up of the year’s most impressive exploratory feats today with a look at the best mountaineering expeditions of 2012. Kraig Becker, the climber and outdoor enthusiast behind The Adventure Blog gives his picks on the following pages. Becker launched the blog several years ago to chronicle the amazing expeditions and adventures that continue to take place around the globe even in the 21st century.
"When the mainstream media covers mountaineering, most stories usually revolve around Mt. Everest," Becker said. "And while that mountain is the tallest on the planet -- and remains incredibly popular with the general public -- year in and year out, the most impressive climbs take place on other, lesser-known peaks. 2012 was an impressive year for mountaineering, and these are my picks for the best of the best."
1. First Winter Ascent of Gasherbrum I
2012 got off to an impressive start with the first successful summit of Gasherbrum I last March. Located in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range, the 8080-meter (26,509 ft) peak is the eleventh tallest mountain on the planet, and while it has been scaled numerous times in the summer, it had never been conquered in the winter. Polish climbers Adam Bielecki and Janusz Golab, along with Pakistani mountaineers Ali Sadpara and Shaheen Baig, faced subzero temperatures, heavy snow, and blistering winds to reach the summit in the most demanding season of the year. Sadly, three other climbers from a different team perished attempting the same ascent, disappearing during their summit push.
-- Kraig Becker
Image: Gasherbrum I, Pakistan (Credit: Dr. Olaf Rieck)