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Asia, Pakistan, Bakhor Das Attempt

Bakhor Das Attempt. After the usual problems and waiting, the British Women’s Karakoram Expedition at last got to the roadhead on the Braldu River and in three and a half days was at Askole. We were Brede Arkless, Ann Reman, Marion Winteringham and I. From Askole we had a clear view of Bakhor Das. It was disappointingly free of snow and its rock did not appear very solid. Reports of the inaccessibility of the northwest ridge were confirmed and we settled on an approach to the easier angled, but less interesting south ridge. Below Askole we crossed the Braldu on an intimidating bridge made of twigs twisted together. Two more days of walking brought us to the foot of Bakhor Das. After crossing the final nalla (valley) tyrolean, we found a Base Camp site and paid off the porters. Base Camp, reached on July 19, was at 11,000 feet above a large nalla that descends from a glacier on the west side of Mango Gusor and runs into the Braldu almost opposite the Biafo Glacier. The next day a suitable site for Camp I was found after 2000 feet of easy, but potentially dangerous climbing on loose, friable rock. Four days of bad weather hampered progress. With no freezing and such unstable rock, the climbing was going to be dangerous. Brede was anxious to continue our original route and went back to Camp I, intending to follow the upper gully to the ridge we had seen. The rest of us set off early to investigate the other possible gully. We found a probable approach and route to the summit of Mango Gusor but nothing but steep, loose walls to the south of Bakhor Das. After an extremely arduous 2500 feet from Camp I, Brede had reached a col from where she could see a way up to the summit ridge. We met her at Camp I the next day and from there took supplies and water to the site she had reconnoitred for Camp II at 16,000 feet. The following morning Brede, Ann and I set off, trying to convince ourselves that the rock would improve. We reached 17,500 feet but the last 1500 feet of the ridge would have been treacherously loose and we went down.

Jacky Anthoine, Snowdonia, North Wales