Pakistan Alpine Style Roundup

Far from the madness of 8,000m peaks, several technical climbing teams in Pakistan are quietly heading for difficult routes in the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush. Some are already there. Others have tried and left.

David Goettler and Benjamin Vedrines are back from their attempt on Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face. They spoke of a “bittersweet yet intense” expedition and shared a couple of videos, but gave no details. Apparently, they didn’t summit.

Hungarians Bence Kerekes and David Klein are also on their way home from Istor-O-Nal (7,403m) with a similar result. They had to retreat from Camp 3 because of bad conditions, but they enjoyed “a serious and exciting alpine climb,” Hungary’s Mountaineering Association reported.

The two climbers launched their summit push from a high camp during a short, windy period of otherwise good weather. They pitched two more camps on the way and overcame the crux of the climb, a vertical 100m rock wall. But in the end, unstable snow on the summit ridge forced them back, Hohatar reports.

Kerekes peers out of a red tent pitched on a narrow snow ledge high on a peak, with views to glaciers and mountains at their feet.

Bence Kerekes at a high camp. Photo: David Klein/Facebook


Two other teams are about to begin their ambitious projects in the Hindu Kush. Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima of Japan will shortly reach base camp on Tirich Mir, where they will attempt its unclimbed north face.

Meanwhile, a Spanish team featuring four climbers from Catalonia is already on Saraghrar, in the isolated Roshgol valley. Their local outfitter, Hussein Ahmed, accompanied them on the approach trek and returned with some photos of the mountain’s impressive face.

They might try the routes previously explored by other Catalonian climbers in the 1970s. Last year, Archil Badriashvili, Baqar Gelashvili, and Georgi Tepnadze of Georgia opened a route on the northwest face that won them a Piolet d’Or.

the climbers stand with a landscape of crops behind and, in the background, the snowy shillouette of Tirich Mir in the haze.

Kazuya Hiraide (left) and Kenro Nakajima had a first look at distant Tirich Mir some days ago. Photo: Kazuya Hiraide/Instagram


Karakoram peaks

As we posted earlier today, Simon Messner and Martin Sieberer will attempt Yermanendu Kangri, an unclimbed 7,000’er on Masherbrum’s massif. Today, they were still in Skardu.

Matteo de la Bordella, Francois Cazzanelli, Silvan Schupbach, and Symon Welfringer are on their way to the formidable Baintha Brakk I, commonly known as the Ogre I (7,285m). The young, outstanding climbers have chosen a suitably ambitious challenge. The Ogre I has been climbed only three times, and each has been epic. The four men set off on foot toward their base camp at the Chocktoi Glacier. Della Bordella says that they will remain there for about a month.

Pavel Bem, Pavel Korinek, and Tomas Petrecek of the Czech Republic are back for a third attempt on 7,453m Muchu Chhish. It is the highest unclimbed peak in the world where climbing is permitted. At last word, they were at Camp 1 on Spantik. Here, the team will acclimatize (and ski down from the summit, conditions permitting) before heading to Muchu Chhish.

Meanwhile, in Hunza, Antoine Girard and his fellow paragliders are flying and skiing nearly every day. Veso Ovcharov reported yesterday that the team managed to land at the base of Diran Peak at 5,800m. They then endured a “scary storm” overnight and the following morning. “Just managed to leave in time in crazy conditions,” Ovcharov wrote.

The gliders smile from a high place near a peak's (Diran?) ridge at sunset.

Left to right, Veso Ovcharov, Jake Holland, and Medhi Bidault are sunny about their gliding, climbing, and skiing expedition.

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.