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Asia, Pakistan, Biale Attempt

Biale Attempt. Our expedition comprised Mark Miller, Sean Smith, Simon Yates, Nick Groves, Maryrose Fowlie, liaison officer Naveed Gaznavi and me. We hoped to climb Biale (6730 meters, 22,080 feet) from the south, approaching from the Baltoro Glacier. Biale lies on the Baltoro-Sarpo Laggo divide, west of the Mustagh Tower and northeast of the Trango Towers. After a nine-day walk-in from Dassu, we reached Base Camp at the junction of the Baltoro and Biale Glaciers on June 22. To acclimatize, we climbed the lower Lobsang Spire to 100 meters below the summit, which was still a long traverse away. On our first attempt on Biale from July 1 to 6, we reached 6250 meters just below the headwall. We wound through a series of steep ice gullies with granite bands to the main Cathedral-Biale ridge. Our third camp was level with the summit of Cathedral but 200 meters north of it. A two-day storm forced us down during which I suffered from altitude sickness, which kept me out of the next attempt. The second and third attempts from July 10 to 14 and July 20 to 22 both ended at 6000 meters when storms hit. We left Base Camp on July 25.

Michael Searle, Leicester University, England