Masherbrum, Trango Tower, and More From the Karakoram

Some interesting climbs, including a first ascent, have taken place in the Karakoram over the last few days. Here’s a brief overview in our Sunday update.

The Karakoram. Photo: Desnivel

 

Urubko summits Gasherbrum II

Earlier today, Denis Urubko successfully climbed Gasherbrum II (8,035m) for the fifth time.

Two days ago, the iron man reached Gasherbrum II’s Base Camp after summiting Broad Peak on July 19. Before starting, Urubko sent one of his typically short messages, saying, “Weather good, sensations are good, GII route is open”.

Denis Urubko on top. Photo: Denis Urubko

 

On July 23, Urubko started up the 8,035m peak from Base Camp at 3 am. He went alone up the icefall and over the long glacier, then followed the classical route on Gasherbrum II.

After 15 hours and 20 minutes, he summited at 6:20 pm. There were no other climbers in the upper camps, so he could climb in pure alpine style. He descended to Base Camp the following day, reaching it at 4 am the next morning.

The top section of GII. Photo: Denis Urubko

 

The impressive feat showed that Urubko can still recover after just a short break, despite climbing alone without bottled O2.

This marked Urubko’s 25th ascent of an 8,000m peak.

The brown spire of Trango Tower

Trango Tower, aka Nameless Tower. Photo: Thomas Huber/American Alpine Club

 

Nameless Tower — Edu Marin

This week also saw Edu Marin free climb the mythical Eternal Flame route (650m 7c+) on 6,239m Trango Tower. The Spanish climber was likely the first to lead all the pitches while free climbing the route.

His father Francisco and his brother Alex accompanied him. They summited on July 21.

Edu Marin, centre, with his father and his brother atop Nameless Tower. Photo: Edu Marin

Edu Marin, centre, with his father and his brother atop Nameless Tower. Photo: Edu Marin

 

The Marins planned to descend to Base Camp today from the Snow Ledge at 5,700m. They reached the Ledge after a climb in which Marin was 28 days on the wall.

“Eternal Flame is the beginning of a new path for me,” Marin said cryptically.

It was only the second free climb of the route, opened on September 20, 1989, by Kurt Albert, Wolfgang Gullich, Milan Sykora, and Christoph Stiegler. At the time, the Germans almost free climbed this beautiful line on the southeast side of the mountain. They aided only four pitches, free climbing approximately 80 percent of Eternal Flame. They named each pitch with fragments from Eternal Flame, the famous song from The Bangles. “[It] expressed our feelings perfectly,” recalled Gullich later.

The route was first free climbed on August 14, 2009, by Alexander and Thomas Huber, supported by Mario Walder and photographer Franz Hinterbrandner.

The ‘Eternal Flame’ route on Trango Tower. Photo: American Alpine Club

 

Masherbrum

The Czech team of Marek Holecek, Radoslav Groh, and Tomas Petrecek have arrived at the Base Camp of 7,821m Masherbrum, also called K1.

The six-person team includes two support staff. Their current goal is Masherbrum’s unclimbed west face, which they will attempt in pure alpine style.

Collage of the Czech climbers clowning around in Skardu before leaving for Masherbrum Base Camp.

Collage of the Czech climbers clowning around in Skardu before leaving for Masherbrum Base Camp. Photos: Marek Holecek

 

“We have built a new base camp on a glacier right at the foot of this enchanting and fear-inducing beauty,” wrote Holecek yesterday. “We are here alone, in the silence of the mountains.”

Masherbrum.

Masherbrum. Photo: Marek Holecek

Paragliding Baltoro

Last week, we reported on a pair of climber-paragliders in Hunza. This week, a second paragliding team of Tom de Dorlodot, Horacio Llorens, and Ramon Morillas finished 28 days of exploratory flying around the Baltoro Glacier.

From the videos of Tom de Dorlodot.

 

“All the flights were amazing, but one really stands out,” Tom de Dorlodot recalled yesterday. He is referring to their July 19 aerial link-up of Mustagh Tower, K2, Broad Peak, Gasherbrum IV, and many other peaks. They followed a bird to the South Face of K2, reaching a height of 7,500m.

A few days ago, Llorens and De Dorlodot flew from the Baltoro Glacier and landed right in front of their hotel in Skardu. No trekking necessary.

Paragliding opposite K2, POV of paraglider

Close to K2. Photo: Tom de Dorlodot

 

First ascent of Bondit Peak

Bondit Peak. Photo: Viktor Agoston

 

On July 20, 2022, the Hungarian National Mountaineering Team made the first ascent of 5,969m Bondit Peak, 10km from Khande village, Laszlo Pinter, the Hungarian team’s media liaison, told ExplorersWeb.

The group climbed the northeast spur, which a team of New Zealanders and two Japanese groups had previously attempted.

A difficult section of Bondit Peak. Photo: Viktor Agoston

 

Viktor Agoston, Bence Kerekes, Marton Nagy, and Laszlo Szasz carried everything themselves and started their alpine-style climb on July 17.

The successful Hungarian team. Photo: Viktor Agoston

 

The difficult terrain consisted mainly of loose snow and ice, with some steep, 70-80˚ sections. They ranked the new route 1,500m, WI4, 80 grade, TD.

The Hungarian team atop Bondit Peak. Photo: Viktor Agoston

 

K2 – new summits today

Today, two more teams announced their successful summits of the second-tallest peak of the world.

Summit Karakoram reported that the Impact Ascent team, including two British and one Pakistani, topped out at 8:20 am local time.

Manzoor Ahmad announced that Sarah Strattan and a local guide named Muhammad, climbing with Karakoram Tours Pakistan, summited at 7:45 am. Strattan was considering skiing down, but whether she did is not yet known.

Other teams are about to start up K2 or have already begun.

K2. Photo: Luis Miguel Soriano

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.