I shot this video with a wide angle at arm’s length while hanging on the rope on the Japanese Couloir. Having left more than an hour before me, all of my team mates were above and I was never able to catch up. There was a lot of snow on the mountain that year, and they inadvertently triggered three avalanches on me. Had I not been on a steep slope, the third one would have buried me. Three minutes later, I took the harsh decision to turn back. I remembered the words of Reinhold Messner with regards to a mountain not too far from there: “I have great respect for the Italians who summited K2 for the first time in 1954,” he said, “but even greater respect for the Americans and the way they failed in 1953. They were decent. They were strong. And they failed in the most beautiful way you can imagine. This is inspiration for a lifetime.”

Two days later at Base Camp, I wrote the following in my daily journal: …”Some years, the mountain opens its arms to everyone and allows climbers to stand on its summit. This year, it wasn’t to be. On more than one occasion, mighty Gasherbrum transmitted clear messages to us. She needed to be left alone. Most of us understood. Most but not all. After all the hardship we had been through, and just as we were poised to pick the fruit of our long suffering, it took a great deal of wisdom and courage to turn back…”

tags: gasherbrum 1, pakistan, asia, avalanche, mountaineering, climbing, snow, ice, expedition, adventure, maxime, max, chaya, lebanon, bank audi, beirut, lebanon, lebanese, video, clip, film