American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Shakhaur, West Ridge

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1997

Shakhaur, West Ridge. The goal of the expedition was to climb Shakhaur (7116 m) by a new, safe route from the Northern Udren Glacier. The members of the expedition were Alfred Fendt, leader (42, Germany), and Gerhard Gritsch (26, Österreich). The team reached Islamabad on August 6 and, after completing the administration formalities, was able to go on two days later via Dir and LowariTop to Chitral, reaching Zundrangram in the Tirich Valley on August 9. The three-day approach march with 10 porters progressed from Shagrom (2800 m), through the Atak Gol, the Udren Valley, the Lopar Gol, the eastern moraine of Udren Darban Glacier and the Northern Udren Glacier to Base Camp (4630 m). The same day the team crossed west over the Udren Glacier to get a view of the western slope of the Udren-Zom and Shakhaur and to look for possible routes. The whole time avalanches raked the route of the Austrian first ascen- scionists and the Italian expedition of 1991 via the serac-area of the south glacier of Rohe-Nadir- Shah, revealing the enormous objective danger of this route.

We decided therefore to explore the pillar in the west ridge of Udren Zom. On August 14 an equipment cache was installed at the beginning of a great couloir at 5000 meters. After climbing snow and ice-couloirs (up to 55°) and poor rock ridges (up to III) the team reached a suitable place for Camp I on a rock buttress (5620 m). After a stormy night in Advanced Base Camp, descent to Base Camp followed. After a break of two days the team decided to try the final climb in alpine style. After a night at the beginning of the snow couloir (5000 m), Camp I was reached on the early noon of August 21. In the afternoon the great glacier plateau between Rohe-Nadir Shah, Shakhaur and Udren Zom (6000 m) was reached (ice up to 50°, rock up to III). The night was spent again in Camp I. After reaching the plateau in the late morning of August 22, the team crossed the plateau to the north, because the way to the Col between Shakhaur and Udren-Zom was threatened by avalanches and serac fall from the north slope of Udren-Zom. The crew spent the time of extreme heat at noon in the tent and continued the climb in the afternoon to a safe place sheltered by a crevasse under the col between Rohe-Nadir Shah and Shakhaur and established Camp II (6220 m). The final climb followed the next day without technical difficulties via the Col and the smooth west ridge of Shakhaur. The summit was reached at 11 a.m. (Gritsch/Fendt) and Camp II at 2 p.m.

The way back to Base Camp was made with all the equipment on August 24. The route is mostly safe and can be recommended especially to small expeditions.

Alfred Fendt, Germany

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