Muchu Chhish: A High-Risk Summit Push and a Skiing Adventure

The Czech team is having a hard time on their third attempt up unclimbed Muchu Chhish.

On their summit push, they have overcome some highly difficult sections, including the tricky traverse between Camp 2 and Camp 3. They did that passage on Wednesday despite “massive problems” reaching the place where they chose to spend the night. After 10 hours, they parked themselves under some overhanging ice at 6,300m.

The following day, yesterday, they hoped to set their fourth camp at the beginning of the summit ridge, where no one had set foot before. However, conditions stalled them.

The climbers woke up to high winds that made them turn around and retreat to their tent shortly after they had started. They waited for the winds to abate and tried again at 11 am.

“But by then, the sun was high and we were drowning in wet snow, which didn’t work either,” they reported. In the end, they managed to gain only 100 vertical meters.

the Czech team head for the traverse, seen through the Norwegians' telescope.

A foggy image of the Czech team as they head for the traverse, taken through the Norwegian team’s telescope. Photo: Andreas Ebbesen


The Norwegians

Meanwhile, the Norwegian team who had been on the mountain before the Czechs arrived have made it back to the small town of Karimabad. They speed-glided from Camp 2 (5,400m) down to 4,850m, where the glacier ended. Speed gliding is a fairly new extreme sport where you use a small canopy to speed down steep mountains on skis. Often you’re in the air; sometimes, you briefly touch the snow before taking off again.

While the Czech team considered the two parties in competition, Norwegians Thomas Lone and Andreas Ebbesen had already given up on the summit bid even before the two teams met. On their acclimatization round to Camp 2, the Norwegians saw that conditions were too risky and their progress would be too slow.

Instead, they returned to Base Camp — where the Czechs had just arrived — and waited for a break in the weather. They focused on speed gliding and were elated with the experience.

Lone waits on skis and in soft snow, on a foggy day, a big foil kite on the snow behind him.

Thomas Lone, ready to ski from halfway up Muchu Chhish. Photo: Andreas Ebbesen


“In addition to returning home safely, our goal was to lead a multifaceted expedition to an isolated mountain,” an enthusiastic Thomas Lone said. “Honestly, it has been a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in all aspects: the trek, the peak, the location, the climb, Camp 2 perched on a sharp ridge, the mind-blowing descent down the glacier….”

Of course, we had read about the Czechs’ previous attempts since we have researched Muchu Chhish thoroughly since 2018, but we didn’t know they were going this year too,” Ebessen said. “We never even considered competing. We were happy to meet them and offered them the platform we had dug for Camp 2. Although we were happy to help, the Czech team was really focused on their own attempt.”

The climbers, standing on the snow with skis at hand, smile to the camera.

Andreas Ebessen, left, and Thomas Lone on Muchu Chhish. Photo: Andreas Ebbesen


Unknown conditions

We’ll post more about the Norwegians’ experience later today. In the meantime, we asked them their thoughts about the Czechs’ ongoing summit push.

“They have completed the traverse and reached Camp 3, so they can definitely make it, if conditions allow,” Ebbesen told Explorersweb.

Conditions are the key, agreed Lone. “We spent six days in base camp after our acclimatization round and when we got up again, the fresh snow had changed conditions for the worse. However, once they get to the summit ridge, they may find… anything from excellent hard snow to unstable, deep powder. It will be a mystery until they actually get there.

“We sincerely wish them tons of luck. Muchu Chhish is an amazing peak and it deserves to be summited;” Lone added.

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.