Pakistan Action Begins With Nanga Parbat and Unclimbed Kharut II

As the first commercial teams head for Nanga Parbat, David Goettler and Benjamin Vedrines are already quietly engaged in an alpine-style ascent.

Elsewhere, in the Karakoram, a team of five climbers led by American Luke Smithwick arrived in Skardu today to attempt the unclimbed 6,824m Kharut II.

Smithwick’s long-term project is to ski the best 500 lines in the Himalaya. But he organized this current expedition through his own agency Himalaya Alpine Guides, Ali Porik of Jasmine Tours told ExplorersWeb. It is not clear if Smithwick intends to ski down on Kharut II.

The team is preparing to head into the lonely and still wintery Baltoro. Kharut II is very close to K2, where expeditions do not start arriving until July.

labeled peaks in the Kharut massif

Kharut massif in the Karakoram. Photo: Courtesy of


At least two of the commercial Nanga Parbat climbers are hoping to tick off the last peak on their 14×8,000m list. Earlier this spring, Sophie Lavaud climbed Shishapangma in Tibet, her 13th. Turkey’s Tunc Findic has also completed 13 8,000’ers. Bad weather and heavy snow thwarted their previous attempt on Nanga Parbat last June.

Sophie holds and cuts a big cake in front of a tent.

Sophie Lavaud at Everest Base Camp some days ago. She on her way to Nanga Parbat.

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.