In March 2003 I met my friend Athol in Islamabad and we made our way toward the west face of the massive Gasherbrum IV (7925m) in the Karakoram mountains. After eight days walk during the tail end of winter we arrived in base camp and started to figure out the mountain. We explored the Western Cwm and climbed the broad couloir to the col where the northwest ridge begins.
Soon we were ready to put in a big effort on the west face. We reached about half-way before being forced into our little tent by horrendous weather. After four days our situation was becoming increasingly desperate as constant snowfall and wind kept pushing us and our tiny tent off the ledge we'd cut into the slope, and we were rationing our limited food and fuel. So as the spindrift avalanches thundered down over and around us we retreated off the face. Bad weather continued in base camp while we re-grouped.
Soon enough we made another attempt on the mountain, this time via the northwest ridge. We again reached half-way before another storm moved in, pinning us down, the snow pushing in on the tent and forcing us to constantly dig ourselves out. Several claustrophobic days later we made an epic retreat down the northwest ridge to the safety of the Western Cwm.