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Asia, Pakistan, Sia Kangri, Central Summit

Sia Kangri, Central Summit. Peter Liechti, Heidi and Albin Schelbert and I arrived at the end of the main part of the Baltoro Glacier on July 30 after a ten-day trek from Dasso. We kept only two porters and with them carried our equipment up the upper Baltoro and Abruzzi glaciers. Base Camp was established on August 2 at 16,200 feet. The next day Albin Schelbert, Liechti and I started to reconnoiter the southwest ridge of Urdok I. After two days of snowfall, we changed our plans to attempt Sia Kangri from the southwest. The weather remained bad through the 7th. On August 8 we plodded through deep snow toward Conway Saddle and established Camp I at 20,000 feet, about 650 feet below the saddle. August 9 was a lost day. We traversed above Conway Saddle towards the southern summits. A 150-foot, partly overhanging ice wall stopped us at 21,500 feet. We moved camp 300 feet higher. On the 10th we climbed a couloir for 1000 feet above camp. Higher, there seemed to be no real difficulties, though we had to climb a steep slope with very loose snow on a hard crust before we reached an ideal site for Camp II at 22,500 feet, protected by a solid sérac. Soon one small two-man tent was pitched. Jammed in like sardines during the night, we four were happy to leave the tent at seven A.M. on August 11. My stomach was upset from the rapid climb and insufficient acclimatization. It was bitterly cold on the southwest face. For a long time we could see the central summit of Sia Kangri (c. 24,000 feet) above us, but it took hours to reach the highest point. Heidi was little affected by the altitude and broke trail a great deal. Climbing over the ridge and a steep hard-snow slope on crampons, we got to the summit at one P.M. Because of rising clouds and a strong wind, we descended as quickly as possible and did not cross over to the 500-foot higher north summit. (The only other ascent was made in 1934 by Dr. G.O. Dyhrenfurth’s expedition.—Editor. )

Wolfgang Stefan, Österreichischer Alpenklub