American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan—Karakoram, P 22,160 or Choricho Attempt, 1975

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1980

P 22,160 or Choricho Attempt, 1978. Our objective was Choricho, so called by the locals as it lies just south of the Choricho Glacier, northwest of Payu Peak. We were Will Thomson, John Hardie, Alan Thomson and I. In mid-June, after marching up the Braldu River from Dasso, we crossed the rope bridge over the Dumordu, left the approach to the Baltoro Glacier and went directly up the hill to an unnamed glacier which runs west from below the south face of Choricho. We reached the glacier after seven days from Dasso. The porters quit there and we had to spend three days relaying our gear to Base Camp at 14,000 feet. We were camped on the right side of the glacier, which extended three miles to the foot of the south face. Ahead were steep scree slopes which later became high faces of the mountains above us. Access onto the glacier was at the point where the scree changed to high steep walls. Because of extraordinarily warm weather, landslides kept hurtling down, sending masses of splintered rock in all directions across the glacier. On our first carry from Base Camp, we discovered that the entry point onto the glacier was a very dangerous place. To proceed up the glacier, we entered the dangerous region and got rapidly out to the middle where there was less danger from flying rocks. Complicated crevasses with sagging bridges made travel on the glacier hazardous. Altogether we spent eight days ferrying supplies up to a point at 18,000 feet where the mountain suddenly shot upwards. At the head of the glacier an icefield stretched up for 1500 feet at about 60°. The warm weather continued. The ice was running with water which washed out stones of all sizes; these relentlessly came hurtling down the slope. We had no alternative but to retreat. Later we started up a steep rock tower of about 20,000 feet which looked sound but it soon became obvious that the séracs and ice in the abnormally warm weather were not adhering firmly to the glacier and again we had to retreat.

Hugh McNicholl, Scottish Sports Council

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