10. The German Himalayan Expedition

Photographer: Unknown

Year: July 1934

Location: Nanga Parbat, Pakistan

Casualties: 9

A 1934 expedition of German mountaineers, setting out to scale Nanga Parbat, seems to have been doomed from the start. Early in the trip, one of the group died at the base camp and the climbers returned for his funeral. When they set out again they made it just hours from the summit, but decided to wait a day to finish the climb as a team. In that day, the weather turned to blizzards, monsoons, and generally terrible, and even as they tried to retreat back down the mountain, they did not make it as a team. Nine people got caught in the storm, which lasted nine days, and never returned. In 1937, another German team returned to attempt the same expedition. Partway up the mountain, an avalanche took out 7 climbers and 9 sherpas in one fell swoop. The following year, yet another German expedition attacked Nanga Parbat and failed to summit it. Instead, they discovered the gruesomely preserved bodies of several of their 1934 predecessors, crumpled and frozen, or hanging from nooses in their icy graves. This 1938 expedition did, however, leave the mountain alive. The mountain was finally summitedin 1953 by an Austrian man who was par of a German-Austrian expedition.