Akher Chioh and Kotgaz Zom. The members of the Graz section of the Austrian Alpine Club (Ö.A.V.) expedition were Hanns Schell, his wife Liselotte and Rainer Göschl. They traveled overland from Austria to Pakistan past Peshawar to Dir. Thence they crossed the Lowari Pass by Jeep to Chitral and Maroi, where they arrived on July 19. From the 20th to the 23rd they continued along the Mastuj valley past Reshun and Kuragh and up the Mulikho valley (called in its upper section first Turikho and then Rich) as far as Uzhnu. This town lies near the confluence of the Rich and the Uzhnu Gol. The latter drains the Chikar, the Shahgologh, the long Kotgaz and the Chhutidum glaciers. The last two lead to the main chain of the Hindu Kush, here the frontier between Afgan Wakhan and Pakistani Chitral. Formerly the natives used the Kotgaz Glacier to cross from the Wakhan into Chitral, but thirty years ago Reginald Schomberg was unable to get to that glacier from the Uzhnu Gol. Therefore Schell’s group must have been the first climbers on it. They ascended the Uzhnu Gol to the glacier with fifteen porters on July 24 and 25, setting up Base Camp on the right lateral moraine at 13,500 feet. Two men were kept as high porters. Their objective was Akher Chioh (23,032 feet), the most easterly still unclimbed 7000er of the Hindu Kush. It lies east of 23,015-foot Koh-i-Tez and is connected to it by a wandering ridge. This ridge divides the Kotgaz Glacier from those to the south and ends where the Chikar Gol joins the Uzhnu Gol. On the ridge rise from west to east Koh-i-Tez, Akher Chioh, Kotgaz Zom (21,920 feet), Noghor Zom (19,470 feet) and Chikar Zom (17,340 feet). To climb Akher Chioh they first had to get onto this ridge, a complicated problem. Spur ridges ran off the main chain with secondary glaciers and valleys between them. On July 27 camp was pitched at 17,700 feet up one of these side-valleys, but this route did not lead to the main ridge. On the 28th Schell and Göschl ascended the Kotgaz Glacier far to the west and found a point where they could reach the ridge. The route led up an ice slope and an ice ridge over Kotgaz Zom and then westward along the ridge to Akher Chioh. After camping at 16,000 feet on the 30th, the next day they set up Camp I at 16,750. A carry to 19,000 feet followed on August 1st and on the 2nd Camp II was established at 20,350 feet. On August 3rd Schell and Göschl climbed the northeast ridge and east face of Kotgaz Zom in deep snow. From the summit they descended westwards towards Akher Chioh. In two hours they had traversed the c. two-mile flat ridge to the foot of the steep summit pyramid. At 2:30 they turned back still 1000 feet below the top to avoid a bivouac and returned to Camp II. The next day they returned to Base. On August 6th Schell, his wife and Absar Khan climbed Chikar Zom. On the 7th and 8th Schell, Göschl and a porter reascended to Camp II and the next day carried the camp to 21,650 feet, not far below the summit of Kotgaz Zom. At 4:30 p.m. on August 10 Schell and Göschl stood on the summit of Akher Chioh, having climbed at 45° ice slope for the last 1650 feet. The importance of this Austrian expedition lies in the fact that they penetrated this glacial region south of the main chain of the Hindu Kush and showed the way to numerous climbing objectives. Lovely 6000ers and 5000ers frame the Kotgaz and the adjacent Chhutidum glaciers. Also the difficult Lunkho Peak may be attempted from there.
Adolf Diemberger, Österreichischer Alpenklub