American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Afghanistan, Hindu Kush, Zoh-i-Bandaka Zeraghau, Northeast Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1974

Koh-i-Bandaka Zeraghau, Northeast Ridge. We approached the Bandaka massif from the south, driving from Kabul up the Kunar River and then up the Bashgal to Kamdesh, where a washout prevented further progress by vehicle. We hiked up the Bashgal and Shkurigal and crossed the main crest of the Hindu Kush by the Kotal Toghw (17,550 feet) and descended the Munjan to Shah-e-Pari and the confluence with the Pargish. We ascended the Pargish valley to the Zeraghau, which flows directly south from the Bandaka group. Camp I was at 15,400 feet on the glacier at the head of the valley. This took us 13 days from Kabul. We followed the glacier to a 500-foot headwall at its northern end, which we ascended to a col (18,250 feet) overlooking the immense east face of Bandaka. After a two-day acclimatization rest, we climbed in two days the northeast ridge to the summit of Koh-i-Bandaka Zeraghau (Zerago) (20,604 feet), arriving on August 27. Reaching the summit were William Marsh, Shelly Sack, Roger Kirkpatrick and I. The expedition leader, Jack Dozier, turned back from 19,000 feet because of a severe throat infection. The major difficulty of the climb was an ice couloir between 19,200 and 19,700 feet, which averaged 55° and had sections over 70°. The peak had been climbed once before, from the glacier between it and the main (south) summit of Bandaka, by Japanese in 1970 (A.A.J., 1971, 17:2, pp. 465-6). A possible continuation of our route down to the glacier and thence up the unclimbed east ridge of Bandaka South looked too formidable, and so we descended instead and walked to Hazarat-Sayed on the Kokcha in five days, completing a crossing of the Hindu Kush.

Jeff Dozier

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