American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Hidden Peak South, Southwest Ridge, and Hidden Peak, Southwest Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1981

Hidden Peak South, Southwest Ridge, and Hidden Peak, Southwest Face. Ours was an ultra-lightweight expedition of only two members, Georges Narbaud and me, without logistic support at Base Camp, high- altitude porters or artificial oxygen. We made a 12-day approach, which ended on June 11. After a common start our route followed a line slightly to the right of the French attempt in 1936. The ascent of Hidden Peak South presented serious mixed difficulties, notably a 50-foot ice wall at 20,350 feet which barred the exit from an S-shaped, 1500-foot-high couloir. Above, some very steep slopes of mixed terrain ended at cornices which led to the summit of Hidden Peak South. The final cornice was problematical; unstable ice and snow. We carried our own supplies and fixed ropes on delicate and dangerous places. We had no fixed camps but moved up and down, bivouacking. The final push for Hidden Peak South began on June 29 with eight days of food and cross-country skis and boots. We reached the summit (7069 meters, 23,193 feet) on July 2. From that summit to get to Hidden Peak it was necessary to descend the northwest slope of Hidden Peak South, a moderate slope which led to a basin 500 feet lower. After crossing the basin on skis, we got to the first slopes of the south-southwest face. These are rather broken by a row of séracs and crevasses. The steep east-southeast ridge leads to the summit. After climbing the south peak, we kept on but the weather prevented the ascent. Narbaud became snow-blind. We descended to Base Camp on July 8. The final assault started on July 10. A summit attempt on July 14 failed, but we reached the top (8068 meters, 26,460 feet) at 1:30 P.M. on July 15. We used skis between the foot of the north face of the south peak and 25,100 feet and cross-country ski boots to the summit. The weather this year was particularly bad. Only eight of the first ten days were clear. After that we made use of short clearings.

Maurice Barrard, Club Alpin Français

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