Asia, Pakistan, Shimshal Valley Climbs and Tragedy

Publication Year: 1987.

Shimshal Valley Climbs and Tragedy. Six Irish Mountaineers, Margaret Magennis, Dawson Stelfox, John Armstrong, Willie Brown-Kerr, Jenny Clark and I, visited the Malangutti Glacier in the Shimshal valley in July to attempt peaks up to 6000 meters, which require no permit. We established Base Camp on July 6 at 3200 meters and Advance Base three days later at 4100 meters in the Madhil valley, a subsidiary of the Malangutti. An attempt by Stelfox, Brown-Kerr and me on July 12 on the north ridge of unclimbed Shifkitin Sar (c. 5800 meters) was repulsed by dangerous snow conditions above the subsidiary 5300-meter peak. All members but Armstrong, who was suffering from altitude sickness, easily ascended a 5200-meter peak to the north of the col previously visited by Venables and Renshaw in 1984. Magennis, Stelfox and I continued via friable rock scrambling to a second 5200-meter peak on the same ridge, returning to the col by the same route. Further climbing was ended by bad weather. A mid-Wales expedition arrived at Base Camp as we left. Two of their members fell on the descent after a successful ascent of Ardver Sar (c. 6400 meters). Dave Robbins died and Chris Clark lay for ten days with two broken ribs while the team summoned a rescue helicopter. The delay occurred because “trekking” parties are not required to lodge a $4000 deposit in Islamabad for such a situation and the authorities refuse to send out a helicopter until they see your dollars.

Paula Turley,* Dalraida Climbing Club, Ireland