American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Tirich Mir West III

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1975

Tirich Mir West III. Organized by the Groupe Universitaire de Montagne et de Ski, we had as our goal the ascent of one of the last two 7000-meter peaks of the Hindu Kush, either Tirich Mir West II or III, both about 7400 meters or 24,279 feet. Led by Guy Lucazeau and me, the team was otherwise composed of Marie-Françoise Amy, Marc Breuil, Pierre Chapoutot, Jacques Kelle, Jean-François Lemoine, Jacques Mambre, Gérard Pistillo, Michel Pompei, Sylvain Sarthou and Dr. Jean Emond. Pakistani Captain Parwez Minhaj was liaison officer. We had three high-altitude porters, notable for their experience and effectiveness. We all got to Chitral on July 6 and traveled to Mushgol by jeep on the 7th. On July 8, with 86 porters, we crossed the Zani Pass at 12,730 feet and reached Shagrom. From there, in two days, we arrived at Base Camp at 13,125 feet at the junction of the Upper and Lower Tirich Glaciers. To gain the foot of the east buttress of Tirich Mir West II we had to ascend the Lower Tirich Glacier, which included a difficult icefall. Only the Czech V. Smida and porter A. Ashraf had ever succeeded in getting through in 1967 to explore the upper basin. Before us, Japanese had given up on this route. On reconnaissance we found the icefall not only difficult but highly dangerous. On the left side we managed to climb a difficult, somewhat less dangerous face, but still threatened by rockfall and snow avalanches. We should have had to fix some 3500 feet of rope. Knowing the easily accessible west face offered fine routes, we abandoned the east buttress. From July 14 to 17, with the help of our high-altitude porters, we placed at 15,425 feet an advanced base which we called Ghul Lasht Zom Camp, some 10 miles from Base Camp. From July 18 to 21, while carries to Advanced Base continued, we placed three camps on the Upper Tirich Glacier: I at 17,725 feet northwest of Tirich Mir IV, II at 19,350 feet at the foot of Agha Zom and III at 20,000 feet at the foot of the west face of Tirich Mir West. From Camp III we decided on a rock buttress, cut by steep snow slopes, which ended in the ridge that led to the summit of Tirich Mir West III. From July 21 to 27 the lead climbers prepared the route above with fixed ropes. On July 28 Lemoine, Pompei and Sarthou occupied Camp IV at 22,300 feet. On the 29th they placed 650 feet of rope. They were joined by Kelle and Lucazeau. On July 30, after a difficult traverse to the right to avoid a steep step, the five climbers reached the summit at four P.M. Bad weather and the late hour prevented traversing to the summit of Tirich Mir II. On August 1 Marie- Françoise Amy, Pistillo and Brueil reached the summit, traversing around the step to the left. From August 2 to 6 we evacuated the high camps. From Camp III to the summit the route rises some 4300 feet on terrain not unlike the Innominata ridge on Mont Blanc, with steep ice and rock up to UIAA difficulty of Grade V. We left fixed ropes in place to help Strickler’s Swiss expedition.

Bernard Amy, Club Alpin Français

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