American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Kanjut Sar, West Face

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1982

Kanjut Sar, West Face. Our expedition consisted of Masashi Tera- moto, Koichi Fujii, Masanobu Kaneko, Hiroshi Sakai, Nobuaki Miyano, Koji Shibuya, Tatsuhiko Kamachi, Dr. Michiro Kawano, Etsuo Masada and me as leader. We climbed the west face, whereas the Italian Camillo Pellissier made the first ascent on June 19, 1959 by the south ridge. On June 6 we reached the junction of the Jutmar and Hispar Glaciers where we discharged our 122 Nagar porters because of their excessive wage demands and nasty attitude. On June 17 we reached Base Camp at 16,075 feet on the snowfield at the foot of the west face with the help of ten porters from Hispar village. The climb on the face began on June 18. We climbed the cockscomb in the center of the face. There was no safe campsite until we had passed above the cockscomb by means of a very technical rock traverse and an exposed horizontal ridge. Camp I was finally established on June 26 at a very high 19,525 feet after much too long a carry. We fixed 5000 feet of rope. The route above Camp I was on a 45° snow slope which rose to the big snowfield under the rocky summit face, where we planned Camp II. The first half was prepared in three days but beneath the snowfield we spent four days to find a safe route through the labyrinth of snow and ice towers. Then we had to spend an extra six days to repair the route from damage done by continual avalanches. Camp II was established on the snowfield at 22,475 feet on July 13. That same day three members at Camp I were hit by a huge avalanche which fell from the upper west face from about 21,650 feet. Two were jammed into a crushed tent, but they were rescued by a third who narrowly escaped by holding onto fixed ropes behind a vertical edge of snow. On July 19 Teramoto and Sakai pioneered the route up the rocky summit face to 24,275 feet, the site of Camp III. We needed just two fine days to reach the summit. However, as two members climbed upward on July 22 they found that 650 feet of fixed rope at about 23,000 feet had been swept out by avalanches. Then the weather went bad until July 31. On the 27th huge avalanches fell, even blowing down all tents at Base Camp. Camp I was completely crushed and fixed rope above the cockscomb had been swept out. After August 1 we could move and spent two days repairing the route to Camp III. Gear left at Camp III could not be found despite two days’ hard work by two members. On August 3 Teramoto and Sakai started for Camp III with a three-man support team and established it. On August 4, despite wind, they left Camp III at 7:30 and headed up an ever-steepening gully. The last 100 meters was on steep, snowy ice and they reached the summit ridge at ten A.M. and the summit of Kanjut Sar (7760 meters, 25,460 feet) at 11:30. That same day K. Fujii and Kaneko came to Camp III and luckily found the missing gear and so could also hope to go higher. This second team reached the summit on the 5th in fine weather. On August 6, although it was snowing, Miyano, Shibuya and I also got to the summit.

Masayoshi Fujii, Chiba Institute of Technology, Japan

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