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Asia, Pakistan, Saltoro Kangri

Saltoro Kangri. The Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto, Kyoto University, sent an expedition under the leadership of Dr. Tsunahiko Shidei to join the Korakoram Club of Pakistan. Taian Kato, Dr. Kazuhiko Hayashi, Dr. Atsuo Saito, Kazumasa Hirai, Yatuka Tani, Goro Iwatsubo, Yasuo Takamura, Schoichiro Uyeo and Tadashi Maegoya were the Japanese members. Professor H. A. Beg was the leader and H. A. Khan, R. Bashir and P. A. Khan were the members of the Pakistani group. Captain B. A. Bashir was liaison officer. Leaving Skardu at the end of May, we placed Base Camp near Ali Branza at the head of the Bilafond Glacier. It took more than 20 days to cross the Bilafond La (18,000 feet) and to set up Advance Base Camp at the junction of the Siachen and the Peak 36 glaciers, aided by ten high-altitude porters and thirty local men. Camp I in the Peak 36 Glacier and Camp II at the foot of the north wall of Saltoro Kangri were established by the beginning of July. We started climbing in mid-July, and Camps III, IV and V were set up at 20,000, 21,500 and 23,650 feet respectively. Following the route which was taken by Sir John Hunt in 1935, we used some rope ladders on ice walls just below Camp III. We had much bad weather and snowfall there, and the Japanese snowshoes were very helpful in the steep, deep snow. The assault team, Dr. Saito, Takamura and R. Bashir, left Camp V for the summit early on July 23. They did not have great difficulties, but the continuous slope of deep snow did not allow them to reach the summit that day. At 24,500 feet near the “Gendarme” and about one mile from the top, they had to spend the night in a bivouac sack without sleeping bags and mattresses. It was also fine on the 24th and they started again at 2:30 a.m. After seven hours of struggling with deep snow, they climbed a shallow ice gully which led to the final ridge and at last trod the summit at 10:45. They radioed the news from the summit to all other members and descended to Camp V on the same evening to join their support party.

Dr. Tsunahiko Shidei, Academic Alpine Club of Kyoto