American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Malubiting, Karakoram

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1972

Malubiting, Karakoram. The members of this year’s expedition to Malubiting (24,451 feet) were the Austrians Horst Schindlbacher, leader, Kurt Pirker, Hilmer Sturm and me and the Pole Dr. Jerzy Hajdukiewiecz as doctor. We left Graz, Austria on June 28 in two Volkswagen buses and traveled overland to arrive in Rawalpindi on July 6. Since we could not get a flight to Skardu, we drove our vehicles to Balakot and there rented three Jeeps to drive from July 16 to 18 the 300 miles to Skardu. On July 19 we drove with tractor and trailer through Shigar to Yuno. With 31 porters we crossed the Shigar River on a goatskin raft and got to the last town, Arandu, on July 22. We changed porters and ascended the orographic left lateral moraine of the Chogolungma Glacier as far as Bolocho. On the fourth day we got onto the ice and set up Base Camp at Palichor at 14,100 feet, some 20 miles above the tongue of the glacier. The route from Base Camp to Camp I at 16,400 feet was troublesome; it led first up steep grass and rock for 500 feet after which we had two hours of steep moraine slopes on the left of the glacier. The glacier itself was badly broken up. It took an average of seven hours to climb the five miles to Camp I. The glacier was smooth above Camp I and led gently upward for 2½ hours to a steep, 925-foot-high slope below the Polish Pass. The main difficulty was a 200-foot-long traverse; the snow was affected by direct sun and often soft, and we could not belay on the difficult places. Camp II was on the Polish Pass at 19,150 feet. We continued up a very steep rock ridge on the north peak of Malubiting. We fixed the entire length of the 650-foot ridge with rope. Above, the steep snow slope and ridge led to a vertical ice step below which we set up Camp III at 20,350 feet. From Camp II to III took eight hours. We turned the step on the left and climbed back on the adjoining very steep snow slope to gain the upper glacial basin. Above this we could use skis. One rope-length was very steep on rotten ice. Then, with one interruption near an ice tower, we followed a relatively narrow ramp to the summit massif. Camp IV was placed at 21,500 feet. On August 23 all of us but Hajdukiewiecz headed for the summit. Though one pair short, we continued to ski to 23,300 feet. We reached the col between the main and middle peaks some 250 feet higher. Then we climbed on hard snow along the east ridge. The 900-foot rise to the summit to complete the first ascent was in places relatively steep. This year we had much bad weather. On our first attempt we were tent-bound on the Polish Pass for seven days by a snowstorm. We had to descend after this on August 14 to Camp I in bad conditions and deep snow. The second attempt left Base Camp on August 19. From Camp II we carried everything in one load to Camp III and lugged the same things forward to Camp IV. From Camp II up we had brilliantly clear weather. On the summit it was beautiful, still and relatively warm.

HANNS SCHELL, Öesterreichischer Alpenklub

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