First Ascent and Ski Descent of ‘Little Rakaposhi’

In late spring, after the monsoon has closed down the Himalayan season but before teams head for Pakistan’s 8,000ers, conditions remain good enough on many of Pakistan’s lower peaks for some climbing and skiing. Yannick Boissenot and Julien Herry made the best of both options by bagging a first ascent of an unnamed 5,050m peak in Gilgit-Baltistan and skiing down from the summit.

The duo took advantage of a short weather window in an area just north of 7,788m Rakaposhi. They aimed for a middling-sized triangular peak “at the bottom of the huge north face of Rakaposhi,” Herry wrote in a report on his Instagram page.

Not optimistic

“We were really not optimistic about the snowpack the day before going,” Boissenot wrote. “[It was] quite scary…but we were super motivated to try.”

Despite the unstable snow at the base of the peak, they found good, firm conditions on the face itself. They had planned to gain a ridge, but the terrain en route seemed too avalanche-prone. Instead, they kept climbing up the peak’s central couloir, which previous avalanches had already compacted.

“Unfortunately, this couloir ended 80 meters below the summit, and we needed to find a [way] over that last steep slope,” Herry wrote. “A long horizontal traverse to the right only led to deeper, unstable snow. Finally, Yannick found a straighter line with less accumulated snow to the short, final ridge. I caught up with him just before reaching the summit together at 8:30 am.”

“The ambiance is just amazing here in the middle of Rakaposhi’s north side, intimidating and fascinating at the same time, surrounded by a world of spines and seracs,” Herry said. “Despite being already above 5,000m, the main summit of [Rakaposhi] still rises almost 3,000m above us!”

They skied down through excellent powder conditions.

After the ascent, the team discussed a suitable name with locals. They finally opted for Chota Dumani, which means “Little Rakaposhi.”

Angela Benavides

Angela Benavides graduated university in journalism and specializes in high-altitude mountaineering and expedition news. She has been writing about climbing and mountaineering, adventure and outdoor sports for 20+ years.

Prior to that, Angela Benavides spent time at/worked at a number of local and international media. She is also experienced in outdoor-sport consultancy for sponsoring corporations, press manager and communication executive, and a published author.