Broad Peak, the 12th highest mountain in the world at 8,047 meters, is located in the Karakoram Range in Northeastern Pakistan.
The mountain is located along the western Baltoro glacier between K2 and Gasherbrum IV. The first westerner who saw the peak was probably Lieutenant T.G. Montgomerie. He was surveying the mountains in the area and in 1856 he spotted some extraordinary peaks, which he gave temporary names. K for Karakoram + a number for the peak. K1, K2, K3 etc. Montgomerie later found out K1had a local name; Masherbrum. K2, still goes under that name, even if some have proposed to re-name it Qogori, a name used by some local people. K3, the third peak to be measured by Montgomerie didn't have a local name.
The summit ridge of the peak is almost 2 km long and therefore British explorer W.M. Conway thought Broad Peak was a suitable name. Conway noted: "a fine breadth of mountain splendour...a huge Breithorn, as it were, filing the space between K2 and the hidden Gasherbrum." The name won general acceptance, but some zealots on a mission to get rid of all western names wanted a local name on the peak. They did not find any credible name candidates, so they did what they considered second best: they simply translated Broad Peak into Balti, the local Tibetan dialect. The name - P'alchan Kangri/Ri. It became a bit bastardized over the years and is nowadays spelled and pronounced Falchen Kangri, which is completely off the mark as there are no "f-sounds" in Balti.
One or two 8000m peaks?
A sometimes raging debate about Broad Peak having one of two "real summits" has been going on for a long time. Most people agree on the fact the central peak is not a separate summit, but the advocates in favor of counting it as one points at the snow on the col in between this summit and the main summit. If the snow are melting due to global warming, Broad Peak central would certainly qualify as the 15'th 8000m peak. Another issue connected to global warming is the fact that the snow on the true summit is melting and the fore summit may overtake it in height. This would be welcomed by climbers as the trickiest part of the whole climb would disappear.
First ascents of the main summits
Broad Peak has three seperate summits: main summit 8,047 meters, central summit 8,016 meters, and north summit 7,550 meters.
The first ascent of the main summit was made in 1957 by an Austrian expedition consisting of only four climbing members. Using many of the fixed lines set up by the failed German expedition of 1954, all four summited without using oxygen. Hermann Buhl, Fritz Wintersteller, Kurt Diemberger and Marcus Schmuck didn't have the help of any HAPs (high altitude porters) or guides and the climb was a remarkable success for alpine style climbing, as it occurred well before the time of small independent teams attempting the highest peaks on earth.