Vulcain The ascent of K2: 60 years of excellence
This summer, Vulcain pays tribute to the 60th anniversary of the ascent of K2 made by 14 climbers from the Italian Mountain Club in 1954.
Vulcain has always been associated with sporting achievements. Alongside supporting Real Madrid in the 30s, or sounding the underwater depths of Hannes Keller in 1961, the Manufacture has also distinguished itself when it comes to conquering mountains.
Three mountain expeditions deserve a mention: the first in the Andes, in the heart of the Cordillera Vilcamba in the centre of Peru. On August 5th 1952, a French-Belgian expedition directed by Bernard Pierre and two American teams conquered the north face of the Salcantay, one of the Andes’ untamed peaks, which reaches to a height of 6,264 metres. Shortly after this achievement, Vulcain received several testimonies from this roped party highlighting the intrinsic qualities of their Cricket Vulcain watches. These were effectively part of the entire ascent, reaching a height of more than 6000 metres.
1954, Ascension of K2
The second noteworthy expedition took place 60 years ago. In order to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Italian Mountain Club, a team of 14 transalpine climbers swore that they would conquer K2 for the first time – that legendary Himalayan summit in the Karakorum range. Led by Ardito Desio, a professor of geology, 700 porters carried more than 13 tons of material to the base camp located at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres. On July 31st 1954, the roped party with Lino Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni reached 8,612 metres accompanied by their Crickets.
A few years later, in 1958, a team that once again consisted of Bonatti and other members of the first expedition set off to conquer Gasherbrum IV (7,980 m), a Karakorum peak reputed to be inaccessible. This time, Vulcain equipped the climbers with Crickets.
The watches from this small Swiss Manufacture achieved considerable success with these extreme climbers. Publications at the time proudly announced that these timepieces served “their owners faithfully by providing the exact time and by chiming at the right moment”.
In 2011, Vulcain paid tribute to this achievement by intro - ducing its 50s Presidents Heritage model.
Ascension of K2, the Italian route
At 8,612 metres, K2 is the second highest mountain in the world after Everest.
This expedition by the Italian Mountain Club was the first to climb K2 via the historic Abruzzi Spur – named following an attempt in 1909 by the Duke of Abruzzi up to 6,000m.
The Abruzzi Spur route is the most oft used trail. Around 75% of climbers choose this route. It starts at 5300 metres at the bottom of a ridge, drops gently for several kilometres and continues up to the 8612 summit.