Asia, Chinese Karakoram, The Crown (Huang Guan Feng)

Publication Year: 1994.

The Crown (Huang Guan Feng). A Japanese Alpine Club expedition of 14 members led by me climbed the Crown (7295 meters, 23,934 feet), 40 kilometers northwest of K2, after five previous unsuccessful expeditions, two of which had ended in tragedy. We climbed the east face. The first six of us arrived in Kashgar on May 19. We left Mazar Dara with 52 camels on May 23 along the Yarkand River, crossed the Aghil Pass (4780 meters) on May 26 to the Shaksgam, which we crossed several times to reach the very long Crevasse Glacier. We placed Base Camp at its tongue at 4000 meters on May 29. We ascended the south moraine of the glacier to place Advance Base at 4400 meters below the fourth tributary glacier descending to the south from the Crown group. The rest of the climbers left Japan on May 27 and got to Base Camp on June 7. On June 11, we set up Camp I at 5100 meters up the side glacier, fixing three ropes on a steep rock wall at 4500 meters. To avoid avalanche danger on the east face, we detoured to the southeast ridge. We fixed 23 ropes between Camps I and II, which we set up on June 21 at 5800 meters at the end of the southeast ridge. From there we traversed to the east face along a rock band. We fixed 20 ropes from Camps II to III. We had originally planned camps at 6500 and 7000 meters on the east face, but there were no camp sites. On July 14, we carved a snow shelf at 6300 meters, where the tents overhung the edge. The east face was mixed rock and ice covered by thin snow at an angle of 60° to 80°. The most difficult part was a funnel where all the snow slid off the face. We set up a 7-meter wire ladder there on June 17. We had placed 28 ropes on the east face to 7100 meters by July 21. At 2:30 A.M. on July 22, Akito Yamasaki, Yasuyuki Aritomi and I started from Camp III and reached the top of the fixed ropes at seven A.M. and fixed the route by another four pitches. We reached the summit at three P.M. under cloudy skies. After three days of bad weather, Hideki Sakai, Tetsuya Abe, Mikio Suzuki and Kunihito Nakagawa started from Camp III at 2:20 A.M. in fine weather and reached the summit at 9:05 A.M. on July 27. Masato Kameda, Masanori Nakashima, Hitoshi Miyasaka and Shinya Sasamori got to the top on July 28, followed on July 29 by Masanori Natsume, Kiyoshi Matsuoka and Tetsuya Hasegawa. We removed as many fixed ropes as we could, especially between Camps I and II. We returned on August 6 to Sugket Jangal and waited ten days for the camels and were back in Kashgar on August 24.

Kazuo Tokushima, Japanese Alpine Club