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Asia, Afghanistan, Zebak Region

Zebak Region. The Manchester University Hindu Kush Expedition was composed of John Vogel, Richard Thomas, Ian Nightingale, Andrew Hamilton, Ian Grace and me as leader. All climbing was done from two camps in the Qalat valley near Eshkashem. Attempts on Sad Ishtragh and Wala Zebak Peak 83* were both abandoned because of appalling terrain: deeply corrugated icefields and rotten rock. We made the following first ascents: P 5070 (16,634 feet; WZ 70*) and P 5060 (16,601 feet; WZ 71), a short ice climb on the north face and rock traverse of the ridge by Hamilton, Grace on July 30; Qalat (17,717 feet; WZ 75) north ridge and north face by Vogel on August 6; P 5600 (18,373 feet: WZ 89) via ice route on north face by Thomas, Nightingale on August 6; P 5045 (16,552 feet; WZ 99) via east ridge by Eastwood on August 6; P 5250 (17,225 feet; WZ 88) via north ice face by Hamilton, Grace on August 10; Kalisa-i-Sangi (18,504 feet; WZ 100) via north face by Nightingale, Eastwood on August 11; Sare Kalan (18,537 feet; WZ 92), a sustained three-day rock climb via the buttress on the northeast face by Thomas, Vogel, Nightingale on August 17. The Afghan authorities no longer demand a food tax from visiting expeditions, but they do make every group pay $20 (US) per day for the services of an interpreter. Parties which include students can obtain a reduction in this fee. Prices for transport and porters are rising dramatically because some foreign visitors take no trouble to haggle for low prices.

Richard Eastwood, Manchester University, England

* We shall use WZ plus a number to indicate peaks thus identified by Dr. Jerzy Wala.