American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, P 5866 (Thunmo), Baltoro Cathedral, Solo

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1990

P 5866 (Thunmo), Baltoro Cathedral, solo. In June, with a trekking permit and seven porters, I set up “Base Camp” on the Dunge Glacier. I made solo a VII, 5. 10d, A4+ climb of 54 pitches on the Baltoro Cathedral in 13 days. I spent two days fixing three pitches, nine days climbing alpine-style to the summit and two days descending. The peak is shown on the Italian map as Thunmo and is 5866 meters (19,246 feet). I nailed a 2000-foot big wall off the Dunge Glacier, which was easy except for one “psycho” aid pitch, and climbed 3500 feet of alpine climbing (rock steps and ridges, snow gullies and two 80° ice pitches) up to the base of the 1000-foot summit pyramid of golden granite. I climbed the northwest arete of this three-sided pyramid. It went 98% free at 5.10 except for one pitch of 80° thin ice. The summit pitch was a 5. 10d run-out face climb to a desperate lunge. I summited at seven P.M. and immediately started the ten rappels down the north face to reach my bivouac tent at eleven P.M. I reached my portaledge the following day at dusk and was but eight rappels off the glacier the next day when the monsoon storm broke that I had watched engulf Nanga Parbat the previous day. I ran low on food the day before my summit day. I placed three bolts, all for bivouacs. Knowing I needed good weather up high, I fixed and climbed the first four days in “bad weather” (light snow and overcast), and then got lucky. Five days up the route, I got eight days of perfect weather—the longest stretch of good weather between mid May and early August.

James Beyer

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.