Pakistan Update: Nanga Parbat, Broad Peak, Istor-O-Nal, Muchu Chhish

Here are the latest updates from some interesting expeditions in Pakistan.

On 7,403m Istor-O-Nal, David Klein and Bence Kerekes are progressing along their route. These two Hungarians, plus the Japanese pair of Kazuya Hiraide and Kenro Nakajima, are currently the only teams climbing this summer in the Hindu Kush.

Bence Kerekes on Istor-O-Nal.

Bence Kerekes on Istor-O-Nal. Photo: Bence Kerekes


Kharut II ends

U.S. climber and skier Luke Smithwick has ended his expedition on unclimbed 6,824m Kharut II. Dangerous avalanche conditions kept his team from summiting.

“This was not due to the strength or ability of any team member, but because of my own decision making,” Smithwick wrote on social media. He said that the snowpack was unsafe, and the instability wouldn’t fix itself until the summer heat removed the layers he observed.

“I have zero regrets about my decision; however, it’s frustrating,” he said.

Next week, Smithwick will begin an expedition on an unspecified 8,000m peak.

Spantik before Muchu Chhish

The Czech team of Pavel Bem, Pavel Korinek, Tomas Petrecek, and Radoslav Groh will shortly start their climb of the southeast ridge (normal route) of 7,027m Spantik. They are acclimatizing in preparation for their attempt on unclimbed Muchu Chhish.

The team has already crossed the Chogo Lungma Glacier and established a base camp at 4,400m. Here, their porters returned home. As the weather forecast is good, they decided to pack for six days and set off up Spantik. They want to spend at least two nights above 6,300m for acclimatization. Some members of the team want to summit Spantik and ski down if conditions are right.

The southeast ridge (normal) route on Spantik, where the Czech team is acclimatizing before starting on the unclimbed Muchu Chhish.

The normal route on Spantik, where the Czech team is acclimatizing before starting up unclimbed Muchu Chhish. Photo: Chogori Adventure


“We’ll see [how far] we can get,” they said yesterday. “The season hasn’t started yet, so we’re the first ones here.”

This morning, June 19, the Czechs left base camp and trekked up to about 4,900m in beautiful weather. Here, they set up Camp 1, although they didn’t find the usual tent site.

“Everything is under snow,” they admitted. They pitched two tents under a relatively safe serac. They will continue tomorrow morning.

There is still no news from David Goettler and Benjamin Vedrines, who are planning an alpine-style ascent of the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat.

One member of the Polish Patrol-X Adventure and Training team posted this photo yesterday, where he can be seen with Benjamin Vedrines (second form the left) and David Gottler (on the right) at Nanga Parbat base camp.

A member of the Polish Patrol-X Adventure and Training team, left, met Benjamin Vedrines, center, and David Goettler, right, at Nanga Parbat Base Camp yesterday. Photo: Patrol-X Adventure and Training/Facebook

Broad Peak and Nanga Parbat

On 8,126m Nanga Parbat, the all-Pakistani team has fixed the ropes up to Camp 3. Nanga Parbat started earlier so the progress is more advanced than on Broad Peak, where the rope fixing has just begun. Some groups have already started their acclimatization, while others are just approaching the peaks.


Karakoram paragliding

The duo of Antoine Girard and Veso Ovcharov are currently paragliding over the Karakoram. Girard’s last track on June 11 showed them in the Rakaposhi and Diran areas. Four days ago, Girard wrote that they finished the first part of the acclimatization. They were awaiting the right weather window “to start serious things.” He noted that heavy snow still blanketed the mountains.

Paragliding over the Karakoram.

Paragliding over the heavy snows of the Karakoram. Frame from a video by Veso Ovcharov


Their upcoming plans are unclear, but in 2017 Girard and then-partner Julien Dusserre attempted an alpine-style climb of the virgin east face of 7,227m Langtang Lirung in Nepal. They approached the dangerous and almost inaccessible starting point of that face by paragliding. In the end, dangerous conditions on the mountain stopped their ascent.

Fram of a video shared by Veso Ovcharov.

Frame of a video shared by Veso Ovcharov.


Paragliding over hazards, then landing at a safe site to begin a climb is a new way to approach some otherwise inaccessible mountains. Last year, Fabian Buhl and Will Sim managed the first ascent of 5,810m Gulmit Tower in the Karakoram, after paragliding to its base.

Approaching Gulmit Tower on foot is almost impossible. They pair climbed the tower, then paraglided back to Karimabad.

Veso Ovcharov (left) and Antoine Girard.

Veso Ovcharov (left) and Antoine Girard. Photo: Antoine Girard

Kris Annapurna

KrisAnnapurna is a writer with ExplorersWeb.

Kris has been writing about history and tales in alpinism, news, mountaineering, and news updates in the Himalaya, Karakoram, etc., for the past year with ExplorersWeb. Prior to that, Kris worked as a real estate agent, interpreter, and translator in criminal law. Now based in Madrid, Spain, she was born and raised in Hungary.