American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Trango Nameless Tower, Slovene Route

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1996

Trango Nameless Tower, Slovene Route Attempt. Celia Bull, Donna Claridge, Kate Phillips, and “Grandma” Geraldine Westrupp attempted to make an all-women ascent of the Nameless Tower. We arrived at the Dunge Glacier Base Camp (4200 meters) on July 9. From July 10-24 the team established two camps on the Dunge Glacier side of Trango Tower. Camp 1 (4600 meters) was established on a relatively safe grassy spur at the head of an unstable rock gully. We established Camp 2 (5100 meters) on a glaciated couloir. This couloir was constantly threatened by rock and serac fall so all load carrying was restricted to nighttime and the early hours of the morning. Poor weather prevented the team from pushing on up to the snow ledge (our shoulder camp at 5500 meters). The dangerous conditions on the Dunge side made us revise our plan and we cleared Camp 1 and carried loads round to the Trango Glacier. We climbed to the shoulder on August 3. Gerry and Kate waited on the shoulder for good weather to descend and retrieve our equipment from Camp 2 on the Dunge side. Meanwhile Donna and Celia carried the remaining equipment up to the shoulder from the Trango Glacier Base Camp. Unfortunately the weather did not become good in time and we were forced to decide between one day of climbing on the route or getting our gear back out and home. The gear won and Gerry and Kate cleared the Dunge side while Donna and Celia cleared from Trango Glacier. Due to ity and sculpting of ice. Two further days of climbing saw us on the summit (6259 meters) at 4:30 p.m. on August 13 (the same day as the K2 tragedy) in a terrible wind. Three hours were required to rappel 18 pitches to the shoulder camp. On the rappels I began to feel odd and on arrival at the shoulder my lungs began to gurgle. After a bad night I felt worse, gurgling more. It was pulmonary edema in an acclimatized person, descending. The remaining rappels were very difficult for me but we had help from the Women’s Expedition in getting our equipment and fixed rope down.

After a few days at Base Camp my lungs recovered enough for us to beat a hasty descent to Skardu. Wainwright and Pritchard, along with three of the British Women's Expedition, were subsequently barred from Pakistan for four years for diverging from regulations. Wainwright and the three women left Base Camp four days early to get home for work commitments. Pritchard broke no rules but was barred as leader. It is very common for some of the team to leave early and it does not usually end so.

Paul Pritchard, Alpine Climbing Group

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