American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Attempt on Malubiting

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1969

Attempt on Malubiting. We were dead unlucky on this trip. Extreme frustration ended on April 25 with permission for Malubiting from the south (we had asked for a northerly approach). Ian Bell, Arthur Clarke, Brian Cosby, Ian Grant, Brian Ripley, Tom Waghorn, Oliver Woolcock and I as leader left Manchester, England on June 1 overland. We arrived at Rawalpindi on June 26, Gilgit on July 3 and Sassli on July 6. Our liaison officer, Major M. Ashraf, was very good. Our two first high-altitude porters were Hidayat and Shukrullah, both from Hunza, and were good until they wanted more than the government rate of pay. We sacked them and took Shariz Khan and Ghulam Ahmed. The 70 porters were poor on the upward march, delaying, demanding more money, striking, fighting amongst themselves. Base Camp was pitched on July 16 at 12,900 feet, lower than we selected because they struck again. Four reconnaissances via the Phuparash and Baskai glaciers revealed no certain route to the top of the west peak of Malubiting (24,451 feet). We decided on the Baskai approach, longer horizontally but apparently less dangerous. We established Camp I on July 20 at 14,200 feet, Camp II at 16,200 feet on July 23 and 24, and Camp III on July 28 at 18,000 feet on the col between Laila and Malubiting East. On July 29 while Ripley and I were descending after reconnoitering to 19,500 for Camp IV, Ripley was knocked off by a loose block, fell 2500 feet towards the lower camps and must have been killed instantly. By this time four of the eight climbers were flattened by a bacterialogical illness and Ripley was dead. Bell had also injured his back. Since the difficulty was increasing with the height, retreat began on August 3. Grant and I suffered extreme dehydration in the walk to Alum Bridge in an effort to get the bad news promptly and properly relayed to Great Britain and spent a week in the Gilgit Hospital. I would not recommend this approach to Malubiting West without knowing that the northerly approach was even less practical.

John T. H. Allen, Rucksack Club

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