Latok I, First Ascent

Pakistan, Karakoram
Climb Year: 1979. Publication Year: 1980.

Latok I (23,439 feet) was finally climbed up the south face by a Japanese expedition led by Naoki Takada. The route ascended the buttress left of the couloir that divides Latok I and III. Base Camp was established on the Baintha Lukpar Glacier at 15,100 feet on June 10. A first Camp I was established in the couloir at 18,050 feet on June 20 but this was wiped out by an avalanche on June 21, luckily without loss of life. A new Camp I was placed on June 23 high on the glacier at 16,575 feet. Camp II was placed at the point where they left the couloir for the steep rock buttress at 19,000 feet. It took eight days to fix the route on the buttress from Camp II to 20,675 feet, where they had hoped to have Camp III. As it was difficult to find space for a tent, the climbers bivouacked there and moved on July 15 up to 21,325 feet to pitch Camp III. The first summit attempt on July 17 failed. On July 19 Tsuneo Shigehiro, Sin’e Matsumi and Yu Watanabe struggled for 13 hours up bad snow to the summit. On July 22 Hideo Muto, Jun’ichi Oku and Kota Endo also climbed to the top. They considered themselves lucky not to have been struck by rockfall or avalanches.