K2 First Ascent
Vulcain watches stand up to the toughest conditions: As in the 1930s, marketing representatives for the La Chaux-de-Fonds brand placed their watches on the wrists of seasoned athletes. In addition to soccer, Vulcain set ist sights on both the heights and the depths. To celebrate the 90th anniversary of the Italian Mountaineering Club in 1954, a team of 14 transalpine mountaineers had sworn to be the first to conquer K2, the mythical Himalayan peak in the Karakoram range, located on the outskirts of India, China and Pakistan. Under the leadership of geology professor Ardito Desio, 700 porters transported over thirteen metric tons of equipment to the base camp at an altitude of 5,000 meters, at the foot of this magnificent pyramid of rock and ice. On J uly 31, 1954, the roped party of Uno Lacedelli and Achille Compagnoni, accompanied by their Crickets, reached 8,620 metres. Only Everest is higher. One of the most famous Italian mountaineers, Walter Bonatti, was also included in this expedition. He was barely 24 years old when he spent a night at 8,000 metres with no oxygen and no tent. Some believed that survival would be impossible. But Bonatti, who paradoxically was responsible for carrying the oxygen canisters for the lead party, proved them wrong.