American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan—Hindu Kush, Darban Zom Attempt and Accident, 1975

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

Darban Zom Attempt and Accident, 1978. Paddy Feely, Irish, Fred van Gemert, Dutch, Bob Milwood and I, English, in early August of 1978, made very good progress on the north side of Darban Zom (23,665 feet). After only two weeks our first summit attempt came within 500 feet of the top. During a temporary retreat toward our high camp, van Gemert fell, forcing all four to a bivouac at 22,000 feet without equipment. Van Gemert was unconscious for the night and semi-conscious for the next three days, during which he was lowered 4000 feet. During the second day a belay failure resulted in a further 60-foot fall into a bergschrund, luckily with little extra damage. On the third day we got to the head of a difficult icefall at 18,000 feet. We were forced to wait there, feeding the casualty on double rations while remaining on half-rations ourselves. After four days, with almost all the food gone, we descended the icefall with van Gemert walking (with help) for the first time in eight days. After a ten-hour, foodless day we got to Base Camp. Milward soloed an elegant peak behind Base Camp, P 20,230, on the south side of the Udren An (pass). This may have been climbed previously by Japanese. The return trip took 18 hours from our 13,900-foot Base Camp with a bivouac at 19,000 feet. There were 4000 feet of serious snow and ice climbing on the north face and west ridge.

Stephen Parr, England

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