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Asia, Pakistan, Tlipobdan

Tlipobdan. On June 24, most of our group started the drive to Pakistan. They were Bernhard Juptner, Stefan Oberhauser, Christian Schimanek, Beatrix Meyer, Christine Fegerl, Robert Klapps and Andreas Ranet. En route, they climbed Ararat in Turkey and Damavand in Iran. One month later they arrived in Islamabad. Leader Harry Grün and I flew from Vienna. We all had six weeks in Pakistan. The first three weeks we trekked and acclimatized. On August 17, we arrived at Markhun. Tlipobdan is 100 kilometers south of the Khunjerab Pass to China. Base Camp at 4000 meters was an eight-hour hike from the Karakoram Highway. We ascended the Markhun River to get there. The porters charged 3¾ days’ pay and collected 410 rupees for the route. We ascended the glacial moraine to the col at the base of Tlipobdan’s northeast shoulder. A rock outcrop breaks the shoulder midway. Above the shoulder the route crossed the northwest face to the summit. A first alpine-style attempt was abandoned three hours after sunrise. Snow conditions indicated acute avalanche danger. Since the snow froze overnight, we decided to climb the ridge at night. Grün, Schimanek and Klapps spent two nights fixing all the rope we had, 450 meters. Using these, Juptner, Meyer, Ranet and Oberhäuser established Camp II at 5800 meters before eleven A.M. on August 31. All climbing was done on snow with rock belays where possible. On September 1, they reached the summit (6106 meters, 20,033 feet). The snow prevented belays. Deep loose snow was broken by thin layers of ice. The next day, Grün, Schimanek, Fergl, Klapps and I started from Camp I. Schimanek turned back due to illness and Fergl went with him. After five weeks of unbroken sunshine, September 3 dawned foggy. In light of the conditions, Grün and I waited at 6050 meters while Klapps went on alone. The fog cleared shortly before he reached the summit. The view from Camp II that evening was unbroken by clouds. The weather remained good while we cleared Base Camp. By September 15, we had the truck packed for the 10,000-kilometer journey home.

Margaret Kerr, Österreichischer Alpenverein