Gasherbrum IV

Elevation (feet): 26,001
Elevation (meters): 7,925
Continent: Asia
Country: Pakistan/China
Range/Region: Karakoram
Latitude: 35.762359
Longitude: 76.615906
Difficulty: Major Mountain Expedition
Best months for climbing: Jun, Jul, Aug
Year first climbed: August 6th 1958
First successful climber(s): Walter Bonatti, Carlo Mauri
Nearest major airport: Islamabad, Pakistan
Convenient Center: Askole

Thanks to Frank Verwijs for adding this peak.

Gasherbrum IV [G IV] is sometimes referred to as the most beautiful peak in the Karakoram. (For more information on the Karakoram generally, see Peakware's entry for "Gasherbrum". The balance of this entry for G IV has been written by its peak guardian.) It should be acknowledged that, after Bonnatti and Mauri's First Ascent by way of the NE Ridge in 1958, supra, one of the most spectacular ascents was that made on June 22, 1986 of the daunting NW Ridge, which traversed G IV's North Summit, just 40 ft lower, but 700 ft East, of the true summit, by an Australian/American team, consisting of T. Macartney-Snape, T. Hargis, and Greg Child (see "Thin Air," by Greg Child; Gibbs Smith: 1988). G IV is certainly one of the most symmetrical and stunning mountains of the Karakoram, which is known for is jagged, irregularly angled peaks. It is important to recognize that, while G IV is the "lowest" of the first four named G Mountains, it is but ONE of many mountains and peaks in the sprawling G Group or Massif, which extends in a counter-clockwise arc, which may be said to originate at G I ("Hidden Peak"), and which nearly encircles the South G Glacier, ending with G VI, and this not even including the numerous peaks and sub-peaks radiating throughout this complex, intricate Group. Indeed, according to Peakware's own list of highest unclimbed mountains, G IV itself has an unclimbed (believed as of 2006) sub-peak, i.e., G IV (South), appx. 7100 metres [m] (all altitudes herein are presented in metres) at a Longitude of 35.4.35 N, and Latitude of 76.37.02 E. Also, G IV itself has been the subject of various estimated heights, including 7932, which several respectable authorities (including ALPEX Peaklist's, list of "Highest Mountains in Pakistan"; and as quoted in Answers.com; Top 100 www.mt.everest [in translation from the original German]) all still cite as the correct height. Likewise, Wikipedia lists G IV at 7925 in its individual entry for that mountain, but inconsistently also lists G IV as 7932 in its list of highest mountains. The other main mountains of the G Group are well-known, i.e., G I, 8068; G II, 8035; G III, 7952 (also est. at 7980 & 7946); G V, 7147 (also est. at 7321, though now largely disregarded); and G VI, 7003. Some of the significant, regularly quoted sub-peaks (listed herein in descending order of altitude) are, inter alia: G I [SouthEast], 7817; G III [West], 7810; G II [East], 7772 (also est. at 7588); G II [NorthWest] 2, 7702; G II [NW] 1, 7591; G II [NW] 4, 7476; G II [NW] 5, 7430; G II [NW] 3, 7328; G II [NW] 6, 7300; also believed unclimbed as of 2006 is G V [Central], 7120. Most curious is the fact that the Lat. and Long. of G IV itself is quoted differently by different, respectable sources, incl. quotes -- cited here using the traditional degree system -- of: 35.46, 76.37 (Peakbagger.com 2006); 35.44, 76.35 (Wikipedia's entry for G IV 2006); 35.45.45, 76.37.00 (Jurgalski and de Ferranti 2006); and, 35.73330, 76.58330 (decimal system)(summitpost.org 2006);

NOTE: the quoted Lat. and Long. in the info box, supra, is the decimal translation of 35.45.33, 76.36.57, quoted in Wikipedia's "List of highest mountains," and as quoted in Answers.com 2006. In any event, the reader should well appreciate that G IV, though the "lowest" of the four, first named G Mountains, is by no means the last of the G Mountains, nor of their recognized sub-peaks, depending upon one's definition of a separate mountain, e.g., by prominence to the nearest other "mountain" -- a subject that is far beyond the scope of this entry.

It is sufficient to recognize that the various sub-peaks of the G Group are indeed regularly cited as significant enough to be counted in many if not most lists of the "top 100" or so highest peaks of the world. Like many Karakoram peaks, they are what one might characterize as sharp, angular, glaciated, and what I (the peak guardian) describe as "angry"-looking mountains (even more so relative to many peaks of the Himalayan Range proper).

Strictly speaking, the entire Karakoram is a Trans-Himalayan Range, relatively uninhabited compared with the Himalaya, and for a good reason. The Karakoram is relatively inhospitable compared with the Southern slopes of the Himalaya, which lie in the rain shadow of the Central Asian Monsoon, whereas the Karakoram Range is generally not affected by the Monsoon, and its life-giving rains. (That is also the reason why June through August is the best climbing season in the Karakoram, unlike the Himalaya, which is inundated by the Monsoon snows during these months.)

The Karakoram, and the Baltoro subrange in which the G Group is situated, is exceedingly remote. G IV itself is arcane in its psychological and physical isolation, being at or over the 26,000 foot mark, but below the arbitrary, metric 8000 metre-mark, which is about 26,246 ft., and thus, like some other imposing independent mountains over 26,000 ft. but under 8000 metres, puts G IV just below the magical, metric 8000 metre-mark. In ths regard, it bears recognition that there are only TWO mountains in the G Group that reach over this 8000 metre-mark, i.e., G I (Hidden Peak) at 8068 m, and G II, at 8035m. Both G III and G IV fall just short of this arbitrary metric measurement. Surely, G III and G IV, especially G IV, rank as more difficult an ascent, by any route, than G II. Nonetheless, both G III and G IV, while over 26,000 ft., fall short of the 8000 metre-mark.

It should be noted that Peakware's own entry for "Gasherbrum" itself, and for G II, incorrectly state or imply that there are THREE mountains in the G Group over 8000 metres. That is just not so, despite the fact that G III and G IV deserve to be considered in the same "class" as 8000 metre peaks, and if the English foot measurement system prevailed over the Continental metric system in the climbing world, would have to be included in the list of the class of giant peaks over 26,000 ft.

Thanks to Frank Verwijs for this description.