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Asia, Pakistan, Ganchen Group

Ganchen Group. Chris Forrest and I reached the Sosbun Glacier on July 30 after a three-day walk from Dasso with five porters. We had originally hoped to attempt the rocky spires that make up the peaks of the west Biafo wall. However, on this side of the range the rock is obviously and universally appalling! We turned our attention further west to the Ganchen group. Base Camp was on the lateral moraine of the Hoh Lungma Glacier at 4250 meters. We climbed Bakree Peak (c. 5050 meters, 16,568 feet) via the northwest face and northeast ridge on August 2. From an advance base near the head of the Chongahanmung Glacier we ascended Zarn I and II (5200 and 5150 meters, 17,061 and 16,897 feet) via the north face on August 10 and Hoh Lungma Peak (c. 5600 meters, 18,373 feet) via the east-northeast face on August 11. All four were previously unclimbed. The main objective, the heavily corniced east ridge of Hikmul (6410 meters, 21,031 feet) was abandoned at two-thirds height after three days of climbing due to dangerous snow conditions even during the night. On August 10 an attempt on Ganchen South (c. 5750 meters, 18,865 feet) was also thwarted. The weather was poor with rain on 80% of the days. With mild temperatures, the snow conditions were the worst we had ever encountered. Alarmingly, we did find large “yeti”-like footprints in moraine mud which bore a remarkable similarity to previous photographs. We presume they belonged to a large species of bear. We began our walk back to Dasso on August 21.

Lindsay Griffin, Alpine Climbing Group