Pakistan Alpine Style: No Summit on Ultar Sar

Ethan Berman, Sebastian Pelleti, and Maarten van Haeren gave it their best, but the elite alpinists attempting the southeast pillar of 7,388m Ultar Sar in the Batura Muztagh range came away empty.

“It’s been everything I thought it would be and more,” wrote Pelleti. “Complex mountain problems, techy approaches, tough acclimatization, wildly steep valleys, tricky conditions, beautiful people, delicious food, and a whack load of fun.”

“Unsurprisingly, we did not summit our objective this round,” the Australian added.

The word “unsurprisingly” reminds us that unlike highly supported expeditions on normal routes, difficult lines on technical mountains have a low rate of success. According to Pelleti, “These mountains present a whole new scale of complexity.”

Piolet d’Or winner Ethan Berman received a Cutting Edge Grant from the American Alpine Club to attempt Ultar Sar. The team spent seven weeks in the region.

Check the photos below from Pelleti’s Instagram:

Still hope on Pumari Chhish

Meanwhile, Mathieu Maynadier and the Ladevant brothers are acclimatized and ready to go on Pumari Chhish Central. The French team cached gear at 6,000m on the face some days ago.

“Yesterday, we climbed up [again and reached] 6,100m on the face, but the weather didn’t allow us to go any higher,” Maynadier reported today from Base Camp. “We just need to wait for a good five-day weather window to head for the summit!”

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.