American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Paty Peak, South Ridge

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

Paty Peak, South Ridge. I well accepted the fresh snow that slowed Dean Hernandez and Mathew Sinclair’s approach to Paty Peak’s north ridge—I hadn't seen the two of them for at least two years—and shifted our objective from a mixed route on another peak to Paty’s virtually white-free south ridge. A cloudless sky permitted unobstructed views of K6 and K7 while Dana and I worked along the ridge to an unplanned spacious notch bivouac. I was oddly content to spend a night where we were, since it meant not abandoning the route. We didn't talk much, though benighted on the ridge with my elder brother added a calm absent during my two years in China.

Once free from a blanket of clouds, the sun’s caress allowed an hour’s nap before we managed the last three pitches to the apex of the prominent crack that divides Paty’s entire west face and from which we saw the summit, 30 feet away. Fatigued, out of food and water and wanting neither to spend another night out without bivouac gear nor push our luck with the weather, we started our west face raps without visiting Paty’s golden crest. During the descent Dana spotted a jammed rope in what the 1988 British Karakoram Exploration Expedition called the “Exploding Mango Crack.” Not wanting to repeat some party's epic, swung northward to another crack system, which offered a snagless line to the ground. At about 10 p.m. on August 3, we met Dean and Matthew lugging food, water and a sleeping bag on their way to meet us, since we had taken longer than they expected to descend from the base of the peak and they thought one of us might be hurt. Back at advance camp they cooked us dinner. Within 12 hours all reached Base Camp shouldering the first drops from our second five-day storm. Paty Peak (c. 18,180’), south ridge, nine pitches, IV 5.10 A3.

Dean Hagin, unaffiliated

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