American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, China, Chinese Karakoram, Aghil Mountains, Various Ascents

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1999

Aghil Mountains, Various Ascents. New Zealanders John Cocks, Kristen Foley, Tom Davies, John Wild, Dave Ellis, Dominic Hammond and John Nankervis, accompanied by Liaison Officer Jin Ying Jie and cook Gao Zheng, spent five weeks in autumn, 1997, climbing near the Shaksgam River. We left Kashgar on September 3. After crossing the Aghil Pass with camels from Mazardara, we established Base Camp at Durbin Jangal. Two days were spent reconnoitering the Aghil Mountains in the immediate vicinity. Further access for camels to this section of the Aghil proved difficult due to the narrow and steep-sided limestone gorges. Assisted by camels, the team then moved up the Shaksgam to the Southeast Skyang Glacier. For acclimatization, ascents of two non-technical snow peaks at the head of the glacier were made. The first of these (5959m) may have been climbed previously by Kurt Diemberger’s party in 1994. The second (6068m) was a first ascent. Attention then shifted to the beautiful virgin peak of 6648 meters on the high ridge dividing the Southeast Skyang and North Gasherbrum glaciers. After recces of possible approaches, a glacier immediately east of the peak and flowing into the Southeast Skyang was ascended to a high camp at 5600 meters. A one-day push was made by all the party; Cocks, Foley and Hammond eventually summited by a route that gained the south spur from a high col immediately north of Pt. 6311m. This involved some technical ice climbing. Wild and Ellis were unsuccessful in an attempt on the same route two days later due to one of the few spells of bad weather encountered. Later, the team relaxed in the beautiful area between the North Gasherbrum and Urdok glaciers with magnificent views of Broad Peak, the Gasherbrum family and other peaks. During this period, Hammond, Cocks, Foley and Nankervis made a first ascent of a ca. 6350-meter peak in the Aghil Mountains, which was accessed from a long narrow rock gully opposite the terminal face of the Gasherbrum Glacier. The expedition then returned to Base Camp, Mazardara via the Aghil Pass and Kashgar for “celebrations” on October 10.

John Nankervis, New Zealand Alpine Club

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