American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Peaks above the Biafro Glacier

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1976

Peaks above the Biafo Glacier. After considerable trouble in getting to Skardu by air from Rawalpindi, we hired a jeep to take us and our gear to Dasso, the end of the road. We commenced the three-day walk to Askole, the last village. This section went well, the weather being good and the porters no trouble. On reaching Askole, we paid off the porters and engaged locals for the trek up the Biafo Glacier to Base Camp. Problems began there. Leaving Askole, we walked and climbed for three days up the Biafo, reaching Ho Bluk under a thin covering of snow on the third day. We issued boots and goggles as agreed. That same evening, the head porter, Ali, and the porters got in a huddle and eventually made their demands. They would go no further unless we doubled their pay and issued socks, sweaters and anoraks to everybody! We were still four days from Base Camp on the Ogre (Baintha Brakk) with only ten days left before returning home. Not being able to meet the porters’ demands, we paid them off, extracting a promise to return when sent for. The following day we commenced carrying the 50- to 60-pound loads ourselves up the crevassed Biafo Glacier at 16,000 feet, but we soon saw we could not get the necessary gear to Base Camp in time for a serious attempt on the Ogre. Reluctantly we retreated to Ho Bluk on the western side of the Biafo to attempt peaks in the vicinity. Fortunately the outcome of our expedition was a moderately successful and happy one. Splitting into three pairs, we tackled three peaks in the area, alpine-style. All three climbs were successful, one pair spending three days on their mountain with two 19,000-foot bivouacs. Peter Jennings and Alan Burke made the second ascent of Razaqi (18,000 feet; west of Hu Bluk and north of P 18,290 feet on Shipton’s 1950 map, Hispar Biafo Glacial Regions) on June 8. My party and I had made the first ascent on June 20, 1971. Pat Fearnehough made the first ascent of “Pajo” (19,000 feet; three miles south of Ghur) on June 8. Ted Howard and I made the first ascent of “Pamshe” (c. 21,000 feet; three miles northeast of Ghur) on June 9. We were considerably higher than Ghur, our immediate neighbor. Dr. John Minors also took part.

Don Morrison, Yorkshire Karakoram Expedition

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