Asia, Pakistan, Central Karakoram, Nameless Tower, North Face, New Route

Publication Year: 1998.

Nameless Tower, North Face, New Route. Our ten-week expedition to Pakistan was successful in establishing a new big-wall route on the north face of Nameless Tower, Wall Fiction (a.k.a. Choss Up Another One, VI A4 5.10 WI3). The route was somewhere between 3,500 and 4,000 feet and, except for the top, was steep to overhanging, which was fortunate for us, as the face was subject to significant amounts of falling ice, which occurred daily when the sun hit the upper wall late in the day. One point worth noting: our expedition approached the north face from the south (Trango Glacier side) and avoided the extreme objective hazards faced by less trick parties approaching from the north (Dungee Glacier) side. The route followed an improbable line up very thin features a few hundred yards to the right of Book of Shadows. John Rzeczycki, Bard Jarred, Warren Hollinger and I summitted during the second week in August after 21 days on the route. The weather was quite cooperative. With regards to difficulty, the route is on par with the more difficult modern El Cap routes. Except for infighting among expeditions members, the ascent went without incident. On the descent, however, Hollinger was injured by rock fall that easily could have resulted in death. The accident occurred in the dark at the bottom of the last rappel while pulling ropes and was indirectly caused by poor communication among quibbling expedition members.

Our expedition was sponsored by The North Face and assisted by the very fine people of Nazir Sabir Expeditions in Islamabad; our expedition doctor, Janet Sweetman; and our Liaison Officer, Captain Farouq, who was extremely helpful during every aspect of our trip and a pleasure to spend time with. Special thanks to the American Alpine Club, which made special arrangements with the U.S. Embassy to post the $5,000 helicopter rescue bond required by the Pakistani Government. It is important to note that our L.O., Captain Farouq, was particular perplexed by the recent, very disparaging article in Climbing magazine, “L.O. from Hell,” about one expedition’s bad experience with what was depicted as a very unpleasant Liaison Officer. The implication was that this kind of experience was rather standard. Our experience could not have been more different: L.O. Captain Farouq was highly educated, articulate, interesting, and very tolerant of our offbeat, strange and often off-color Western ways.

Wally Barker, unaffiliated