“Goodbye, Life”: Huber Returns to Latok’s Legendary North Ridge

Climbing Mountain
The North Face of Latok I from Base Camp. Photo: Tom Livingstone

Veteran Thomas Huber of Germany, together with Italian Simon Gietl and French camerman Yannick Boisennot, are returning to Latok I (7,145m) for another crack at the legendary North Ridge. They will reach the Choktoi Valley in about three weeks.

Speaking to ExWeb last summer, Kenton Cool described the North Ridge as “one of the last great Himalayan climbs. Many of the very best have pitted themselves against this colossal ridgeline, and all have been repelled, either by technical difficulties, the route’s condition or by the notoriously bad Karakorum weather.”

Huber, Gietl and Boisennot, plus German Rainer Treppte, abandoned their attempt on the North Face last year when they found the wall in an unclimbable state, plastered in snow and shedding spindrift avalanches. Huber said at the time: “The North Face seems invincible. If you go there, you have to say‚ ‘Goodbye, life’ –- and then touch and go!”

Yannick Boissenot, Rainer Treppte, Simon Gietl and Thomas Huber (left to right). Photo: Thomas Huber

The first team to attempt the ridge, in 1978, were George Lowe, Jeff Lowe, Michael Kennedy and Jim Donini. The powerful Americans spent 26 days on the 2,600m ridge. They were turned back 150m below the summit, when Jeff Lowe fell semi-conscious with fever. For the next 40 years, the ridge has rebuffed the very best alpine climbers. Jeff Lowe once dubbed the route “the unfinished business of the last generation.”

2018 was an eventful season on Latok: a South Korean team was avalanched off the North Face, a Russian team met with tragedy and Tom Livingstone and co. summited via the north side.

Links

Latok I: In Conversation with Tom Livingstone

Breaking News: North Side of Latok I Finally Climbed

Updated: Gukov Rescued From Latok I

Gukov Trapped on Latok I After the Death of his Partner

South Koreans Survive Avalanche on Latok One

About the Author

Ash Routen

Ash Routen

Ash is a full-time PhD Exercise Scientist from the UK. Outside of work Ash is an outdoor and adventure writer who has written for Rock and Ice, Outside, Red Bull, The Telegraph, Financial Times, UK Climbing etc. In 2018 he led a 640km foot crossing of a frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia.
See more at www.ashrouten.com or contact him via ash@explorersweb.com

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