American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Afghanistan, Shakhaur-Nadir Shah Traverse

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

Shakhaur-Nadir Shah Traverse. The Kraków Academic Alpine Club expedition ascended Shakhaur (23,347 feet) by a new route. Between July 11 and 22 we acclimatized in the Kohe Zebak group. On July 23 we reached the village of Shakhaur in the Wakhan and immediately began a five-day reconnaissance in the Shakhaur valley, in which the Kotgaz An (pass of 17,940 feet) was reached. Base Camp was established on July 31 on the Shakhaur Glacier at 12,475 feet. We decided to climb Shakhaur alpine-style from the Kotgaz An via the east ridge and to traverse along the ridge to Nadir Shah (22,356 feet) and on to the col between M3 and M4 before descending the Shakhaur Myani Glacier, making no immediate camps. On August 3 E. Chrobak, K. Liszka, J. Maczka and I climbed the Hoshk Glacier to 14,450 feet and climbed the next day to the Kotgaz An via very steep ice with penitentes. On August 5 we climbed on rock and ice, passing ice towers on the north to bivouac behind the second tower at 19,350 feet in a saddle. The next day was difficult ice and wind-drifted snow; night caught us on an ice slope at 21,325 feet. On the 7th we had to traverse 200 yards south until we could get across a crevasse with artificial aid; we reached a plateau for the third night on the ridge at 22,800 feet. On August 8 at one P.M. we climbed the last vertical pitch to the summit of Shakhaur. We found no trace of the previous ascents. That same day we descended along the easy ridge to the Nadir Shah col, where we bivouacked at 21,650 feet. By detouring around huge cornices we climbed Nadir Shah at 2:30 the next day, where we found traces of the Yugoslavs of 1968 and a bottle with the names of the Polish first-ascent party of 1962. We descended the ridge to its abrupt 1300-foot icefall, down which we made six abseils. Below was the broad M3-M4 saddle and there we spent the seventh night. The further route was marked with flags left by our support team: Z. Dudrak, W. Jedlinski and A. Pawlik. The next day we descended to the col in the ridge between Nadir Shah and Shakhaur Myani Glaciers. It took three long abseils to reach the latter. Two attempts by the support team on Langutae Barfi failed at 19,700 feet in bad weather.

Marian Bala, Kraków Academic Alpine Club, Poland

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