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Asia, Pakistan, Peaks near Latok

Peaks near Latok. The goal of our expedition was to make the first complete ascent of the north ridge of Latok I. The mountain had been ascended once before from the south by Japanese in 1979. Some confusion exists in the designation of the Latok peaks. Our objective is marked with an altitude of 7145 meters on the new map of the Swiss Foundation for Alpine Research. Our climbers were Austrian Robert Schauer and Britons Rick Allen, Sandy Allan, Simon Yates and I as leader. Except for Schauer, we reached the roadhead at Foljo on May 30 and continued through Askole and up the Panmah and Choktoi Glaciers. We placed Base Camp on June 6 on the Choktoi Glacier at 4000 meters below Hanipispur South and about a kilometer short of the foot of Latok I’s north ridge. Allen, Allan, Yates and I ascended Biacherahi Dome to the north of Biacherahi Tower. An attempt on the northern side of Biacherahi foundered in deep, unstable snow. We four attempted Hanipispur South but retreated from the summit pyramid after encountering unstable snow overlying granite. Sandy Allan’s and my attention was drawn to a fine granite prow projecting from Latok III. The first ascent of this 3000-foot rock climb took three days of sustained, difficult free climbing and three pitches with some artificial aid. Rick Allen and Simon Yates crossed the Nobande Sobande Glacier and explored the east ridge of Bobisghir before retreating because of unstable snow. At that point we were joined by Robert Schauer. Because of the difficult and dangerous snow condi tions and the forbidding appearance of the pendulous snow mushrooms adorning the north ridge of Latok I, we renounced our principal objective. A consensus on an alternative objective could not be reached and so the team divided. Sandy Allan and I departed, looking for lower-altitude rock. On June 26, between the Jola bridge and Askole, one of our porters, Sher Mohammed, slipped and fell from a high rocky section of the path into the Braldu River. Despite considerable searching, his body could not be found. The other three failed on the south ridge of Bobisghir. Schauer and Yates tackled some rock spires above Base Camp and traveled over the Sim La overlooking Snow Lake. Later they moved to the Hushe valley where they made the second ascent of a prominent granite spire.

Douglas Scott