Team to Attempt New Route on Pakistan’s Karun Koh

Joshua Harrin of the U.S., Masha Gordon of Russia, Jack Sturm of France, and Oswaldo Freire of Ecuador are on their way to the base of 6,977m Karun Koh in Pakistan’s Shimshal.

The imposing Karun Koh made headlines in 2022, thanks to the new alpine-style route by Piolet d’Or winners Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima. They achieved the second overall ascent of the mountain after an Austrian team climbed the Southwest Ridge 40 years ago. The Japanese went up the Northwest Face.

Harrin, Gordon, Sturm, and Freire reached the mountain from the south after considerable difficulty. “It was hard to find a passage through the ravines to the glacier,” Freire told ExplorersWeb from their last point with a Wi-Fi connection. “We had to fix ropes for the porters to pass.”

For at least the next two weeks, the team will only have satphone communication.

The climbers on a canyon with a little water but vertical sections.

The climbers fix ropes up the ravines leading to the glacier. Photo: Oswaldo Freire


“We have been studying options for new routes, and we have two main lines in mind at the moment but have not decided yet,” Freire said. The Featured Image above shows both of those options.

Two previous ascents

Freire considers the south side of the mountain where they are even more difficult than the north face route done by Hiraide and Nakajiima.

Last year, Jarrin and Freire climbed a beautiful direct route on the north face of Ganchempo (6,387m) in Nepal.

The climbers in a foggy day ona a snowy summit

Oswaldo Freire (left) and Joshua Jarrin on the summit of Ganchempo last year. Photo: Oswaldo Freire

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.