Asia, India—Kashmir and Jammu, Nun

Publication Year: 1990.

Nun. Our expedition consisted of Austrians Willi Wehinger, Walter Bell, Kurt Kirchler, Götz Mayr and me as leader and German Hermann Huber. After a number of delays on the approach, we reached Tongul in the Suru valley on August 5. The porters were demanding 160 rupees per day, but after long bargaining we settled on 80 rupees. With 16 porters we reached Base Camp at 4300 meters on August 6. A day later a Japanese expedition arrived, hoping to climb the normal southwest ridge. On the 8th, we established Advance Base at 4700 meters and the next day went up the steep ice wall that leads to the plateau and continued to the site of Camp I at 5450 meters. On the way down, we fixed a rope on the steepest part. From Camp I, on August 12, we traversed the great snow plateau toward the northwest ridge on skis. After reconnaissance on the 13th, four of us climbed with heavy loads to 6200 meters on the 14th. Huber and I camped there for the night. Kirchler had to leave. On August 15, the rest climbed directly up from Camp II to 6600 meters, the last place to camp before the 400-meter slope that leads to the top. It was difficult to put up the tents in the wind. August 16 was stormy. Wehinger was having circulation problems, and Bell and Huber descended with him to Camp II to avoid frostbite. Mayr and I made a summit attempt to 6850 meters. It stormed the next day, but the 18th was clear and windless. Mayr led most of the way in tiring, firm but deep snow which averaged from 35° to 45°. We climbed through the crux, a rock barrier just below the summit ridge, in an ice-filled gully. We reached the top (7135 meters, 23,410 feet) at 12:30 P.M. “110-years-old!” said Mayr, because we were both 55. It was 29 years after our first expedition together when we had made the first ascent of Disteghil Sar in the Karakoram. We were back in Camp III by four P.M. On the 19th, we descended to Camp II where we were met by Bell, reporting that Huber had broken his leg on the descent to Camp II. Bell and Wehinger transported him to Camp I on an improvised sled. He was evacuated from there by an Indian Air Force helicopter.

Wolfgang Stefan, Österreichischer Alpenverein and Alpenklub