September 26, 1914|
Santa Caterina di Valfurva, Italy
|Died||May 13, 2009
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2009)|
On the successful K2 expedition, Compagnoni's decision to place the final camp (IX) at a higher location than formerly agreed was a source of controversy. Compagnoni alleged that Walter Bonatti had used some of the oxygen supply intended for the summit, causing it to run out on summit day. Walter Bonatti disputed this, and was cleared in the Italian courts in 1964.
Bonatti and Hunza climber, Mahdi, climbed up to deliver oxygen to Compagnoni and Lacedilli for their summit attempt. Mahdi's condition had deteriorated. Unable to downclimb safely with Mahdi, Bonatti needed the shelter of Camp IX's tent. The tent was placed high up, over a dangerous traverse to the left - not at the agreed upon location. Unable to safely traverse to the tent, Bonatti and Mahdi endured a forced bivouac in the open at 8100 meters; it cost Mahdi his fingers and toes. Compagnoni explains his decision to move the tent was to avoid an overhanging serac, a viable explanation. However, it is argued that he also had an ulterior motive: to avoid Walter Bonatti. Bonatti was in the best physical condition of all the climbers and the logical choice to make the summit attempt. If he had joined the summit team, he would likely have done so without the use of supplemental oxygen. If he had succeeded, any summit by Compagnoni would have been utterly eclipsed. Although the Bonatti-Mahdi forced bivouac was not anticipated, Compagnoni intended to discourage Bonatti from reaching the tent. At 6:10 pm the next evening, Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli reached the summit of K2, using the supplemental oxygen Bonatti and Mahdi had brought them. Expedition leader Ardito Desio, in his final report, mentioned the forced bivouac only in passing. Mahdi's frostbite was an embarrassment to the expedition. The Italian government provided Mahdi with a small pension for his contribution and sacrifice on the first ascent of K2.
In 2004, Lino Lacedelli confirmed Bonatti's version of events in his book, K2. Il prezzo della conquista. In 2006 an English translation appeared; K2: The Price of Conquest. In 2008, the Club Alpino Italiano officially recognized Bonatti's version of these events. Walter Bonatti never reconciled with Compagnoni.
During his service at the Alpini corps of the Italian army, he participated together with Lieutenant Giuseppe Lamberti and Sergeant Ettore Schranz at the fourth edition of the legendary Trofeo Mezzalama, when their team placed second.
Further notable results were:
- 1939: 2nd, Italian men's championships of cross-country skiing, 50 km
- 1940: 1st, Italian men's championships of cross-country skiing, 36 km
- 1941: 3rd, Italian men's championships of cross-country skiing, 50 km
- 1942: 3rd, Italian men's championships of cross-country skiing, 18 km
Italian orders of merit
- Uomini sul K2, Achille Compagnoni, 1958, Veronelli Editore, Milano IT.
- Il Tricolore sul K2, Achille Compagnoni, 1958, Veronelli Editore, Milano IT.
- The Mountains of My Life, Walter Bonatti.
- K2. Storia di un caso, Walter Bonatti.
- K2. La verità. 1954-2004, Walter Bonatti, 2005, Baldini Castoldi Dalai editore. ISBN 88-8490-845-0.
- K2. Il prezzo della conquista, Lino Lacedelli and Giovanni Cenacchi, 2004, Mondadori, IT. ISBN 978-88-04-53556-0
- K2: The Price of Conquest, Lino Lacedelli and Giovanni Cenacchi, 2006, Carreg Ltd. UK. ISBN 0-9538631-3-1.
- K2. Lies and Treachery, Robert Marshall, 2009, Carreg Ltd. UK. ISBN 978-0-9538631-7-4.
- Obituary (Italian)
- 29° Campionato Italiano di Scialpinismo “Memorial Ettore Schranz” (Italian), February 9, 2006.
- 1936 Trofeo Mezzalama - photo