Colin Haley on K6, Nepal Issues Permits Again, and More

In a last-minute decision, Colin Haley, an Italian-American who currently lives in Chamonix, decided to join his friends Jeff and Pritti Wright for an ambitious goal in Baltistan: the steep K6. While the team is not sending regular updates, Ali Saltoro of Adventure Tours Pakistan told ExplorersWeb that the climbers are currently acclimatizing on 6,447 Drifika Peak in the nearby Nangmah Valley. They plan to move to K6 Base Camp on September 10. K6 has been climbed only once before, by an Austrian team way back in 1970.

Meanwhile, on Muchu Chhish, the Czech team finally called it quits because bad weather, dangerous conditions and the unknown terrain above 6,300m, their highest point. This, after “a two-day frantic escape down to Base Camp in heavy snowfall and constant avalanches falling from above Camp 1,” they reported.

Already back in civilization, the Czechs report that they met Jordi Tosas and Philipp Brugger on their way from Base Camp. The new pair also plan to try Muchu Chhish.

Night falls on the Czech Muchu Chhish expedition. Photo: Facebook


Felix Berg and the SummitClimb team are also back at home, after their first ascents. Check a complete report on their outfitter’s website. We’ll feature an interview with Berg later this week.

While international expeditions remain scarce, a few local teams shine on their own mountains. On August 17, Lahore climbers Ahmad Mujtaba, Hamza Anees and Adnan Saleem bagged the first national ascent of Falak Sar on a 48-hour, alpine style push up the East Face, which included two bivouacs in snow caves.  On top, the climbers measured the peak’s altitude as 5,957m, 39m more than the previous figure, as registered by the American Alpine Journal.

Falak Sar lies in the Hindu Kush and is the highest peak of Swat valley, homeland of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai. According to a detailed report by Pak Peaks, no one had summited Falak Sar since a Japanese team achieved the second ascent in 1968. (New Zealanders made the first ascent in 1957.)

Falak Sar, as seen from the Pakistani team’s second bivouac. Photo: Hamza Anees

Meanwhile, in the ever-changing mountaineering situation in Nepal, the first climbing permits have been issued. After a Bahraini team (supported by the country’s Royal family) was granted access to Manaslu, further permits have been forthcoming. Last week, authorities in Nepal issued a climbing permit for 7,162m Baruntse to a six-member local team led by Dawa Steven Sherpa.
While action by local teams is great news, international expeditions would help reactivate the wrecked economy of Nepal, which has endured a lockdown lasting nearly six months. A report in the newspaper Kathmandu Pati speaks of people forced to live on the street and beg for food.