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Asia, Afghanistan, Darrah-e-Abi, Central Hindu Kush

Darrah-e-Abi, Central Hindu Kush. Three members of the Cambridge University Mountaineering Club, John Ashburner, Paul Newby and I, visited the Afghan Hindu Kush for two months. We drove across the Middle East in a Land-Rover, arriving in Kabul on June 27. A week later we drove up to Dasht-e-Rewat in the Panjshir valley. Here we hired six horses to carry our equipment. We travelled up the Panjshir to Parian and over the Anjuman Pass to Anjuman. Eight days’ march brought us to Iskasr, a village set almost at the junction of the Anjuman and Munjan rivers. Here we changed our transport to donkeys and entered the Darrah-e-Abi, which lay directly south-southeast of Iskasr. The entire valley and its surrounding mountains had never been visited before. After three days more we established Base Camp at 13,000 feet. We spent one week reconnoitering and dumping food at potential campsites, having no porters above Base. During the following week of perfect weather, on July 26 we climbed P5260 (17,257 feet; "Pyramid”) with one camp. The route lay up a steep glacier to a col, followed by a straightforward ridge with one relatively difficult section. On the 27th from the same camp we climbed P5651 (18,640 feet; "Scramblers Peak”), which was relatively easy. From the top were visible Bandaka, Koh-i-Chrebek, Mundi, Jumi, Tirich Mir and Noshaq. On July 30 from a camp at 15,600 feet we made a steep snow ascent which led to a beautiful traverse of all three peaks of P5319 (17,451 feet; "Wave Peaks 1, 2, and 3"). On August 1 from Camp II at 17,225 feet we climbed Rast Darrah (5959 meters or 19,551 feet).* There were twenty-one continuous pitches of 30° to 45° snow and ice above Camp II. We bivouacked at 19,000 feet on the descent. We all climbed all the peaks. We made a crude survey, taking all heights mentioned from the advance copy of the Aerial Survey recently made. An alternative route back from Iskasr to Anjuman, made with three donkeys and a horse, took us via Rubakon, Yakr, Yamak and Ustuga passes. Hoping to exit through Nuristan, we turned up the Kyrawagu valley just before the Anjuman pass. When it became obvious that the animals could not make it, accompanied by two of the donkeymen we crossed the Kascha pass (15,750 feet) at the head of the Kyrawagu with some difficulty on August 15 and made the first crossing of this route into the Chamar-Pushal area of Nuristan. We stayed a day and a half before returning the same way. Thence we retraced our steps to Dasht-e-Rewat.

Henry Edmundson, Cambridge University Mountaineering Club

*Dr. A. Diemberger points out that Rast Darrah is not to be confused with P Y on the list of 6000-meter peaks of Wolfgang Frey in the Österreichische Alpenzeitung of September/October, 1966. Rast Darrah lies northeast of P Y.—Editor.