American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Afghanistan, Peaks above Darrah-i-Mulaw (Scottish))

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1971

Peaks Above Darrah-i-Mulaw (Scottish). The Scottish Hindu Kush Expedition was composed of Dr. R.A. North, W.M.A. Sproul, W.J.A. Tauber and me. Following the pattern of previous years, there was much activity in the Hindu Kush. Our expedition was denied permission by the Afghan government to visit the Wakhan, though several parties were allowed as far as Qazi Deh to climb around Tirich Mir and Noshaq. We arrived at Shah-i-Pari in the Munjan valley on August 2, having made the long approach march from the north through the Kokcha valley to Ishkasser and then by Alakadoree over the Pajuka Pass. The march took eight days from the roadhead at Hazrat-i-Sayet because of porterage problems, a broken bridge at Sarisang (now repaired) and the loss of a pack horse into the Kokcha. The horse was carrying all our technical climbing gear. Relations with porters will always be difficult in this area. Alternate routes exist via Panjshir and Angjuman or from Jalalabad via Alingar and the Ramgal Pass. There are however difficulties in persuading Nuristanis to carry to Tajik areas; it may be that the northern route is the least troublesome. The valley we had chosen appears as “Toghw” on Wolfgang Frey’s excellent map of the district. We discovered that it was called “Mulaw”, a name possibly derived from the presence of four (or three or two, depending on the season) lakes. The name is confirmed on the Afghan Survey. The Japanese Akita party was already established in the valley and kindly lent us equipment to make up for that which had been lost when the horse was swept away. In addition a party from Imperial College, London, was working in the valleys to the east of the watershed. Reports of this previously unvisited valley had led us to expect a little more than we found. The headwall was extensive and held many peaks. Glacial level was 3000 to 4000 feet below the peaks so that they could be climbed alpine style with the occasional bivouac, a safe and generally pleasant activity because of the stable weather. They were beautiful mountains without remarkable routes to suit; the ridges and faces were highly broken. Snow and ice climbing was the most rewarding.

In the following list of ascents peaks may be identified on Frey’s map, from which altitudes have been taken. We found no major discrepancies, though an occasional peak was omitted. All were first ascents except for P 5590 and Shakh-i-Kabud. The ascents follow: P 4055 (13,304 feet) and P4167 (13,671 feet) via west ridge on August 3 by Rowe; P 5752 (18,871 feet) via north ridge on August 9 by North, Tauber; Pc. 5500 (18,045 feet; unmarked between P 5752 and P 5797) via northwest ridge on August 9 by Rowe, Sproul;P 5680 (18,635 feet) and P 5637 (18,494 feet) via northwest face on August 15 by Tauber, Sproul; P c. 5700 (18,701 feet; east of P 5752) via south face on August 11 by Rowe, Tauber; P c. 5400 (17,717 feet; northeast of P 5613) via southeast face on August 11 by North, Sproul; P 5555 (18,225 feet) via southwest ridge on August 15 by Rowe; P 5480 (17,979 feet) via north ridge on August 18 by North, Rowe; P 5590 (18,340 feet) via west ridge on August 18 by Sproul, Tauber; Shakh-i-Kabud (20,309 feet) via south couloir on August 23 by Sproul, Tauber; P c. 5400 (17,717 feet; on ridge across west of P 5590) via east face by Sproul, Tauber. North and I visited the Youmeh valley to the immediate south of the Mulaw. This valley is called “Mulaw” on the Frey map. Here are excellent prospects, including several 18,000-foot peaks. The north face of Koh-i-Mondi (20,453 feet) seems to be of excellent granite, is very steep and should provide a good objective for a party in search of difficulty rather than first ascents.

IAN G. ROWE, Alpine Climbing Group

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