Hiraide and Nakajima Head To Tirich Mir’s Unexplored North Face

Powerhouse duo Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima of Japan are on their way to Pakistan to open a new route on the unexplored north face of 7,708m Tirich Mir, the highest peak in the Hindu Kush.

A Norwegian-UK team first ascended Tirich Mir in 1950 from the south. The north face hasn’t been explored yet because of its complicated and unknown topography. According to Hiraide in a recent interview with Shinmai.co.jp, there are no photos of the area around the route that Hiraide and Nakajima will attempt.

Kazuya Hiraide today, at the airport.

Kazuya Hiraide today at the airport. Photo: Kazuya Hiraide


They want to establish a base camp at 4,000m, then climb the 2,000m north wall and continue to the summit. They plan to return home on August 12.

Kazuya Hiraide won a Piolet d’Or three times for his climbs of Kamet, Shishpare, and 7,788m Rakaposhi. Nakajima is a two-time winner (for Shishpare and Rakaposhi). Last autumn, the pair opened a new route on 6,977m Karun Koh.

Questions waiting to be answered

In an interview with ExplorersWeb, Hiraide previously explained, “I look for questions waiting to be answered. Where others have already been, it’s the known world. I look for the unknown, for the blank patches on the map, and for new paths.”

The upper section of Tirich Mir.

The upper section of Tirich Mir. Photo: Tripadvisor


The Tirich Mir project idea is not new to them. Four years ago, they tried to access this peak but could not obtain a climbing permit at the time. So instead, in 2019 Hiraide and Nakajima opened a new route on the south face of Rakaposhi.

The north face of Tirich Mir.

The north face of Tirich Mir. Photo: Google Earth


Hiraide and Nakajima climb alpine style, without bottled oxygen or high-altitude porters. This will surely be one of the most interesting climbs this year.

Hiraide’s ultimate goal is to open a new route on the west face of K2. But this will likely not happen this year.

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.