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Asia, Pakiston, Changi Tower Main Peak, Excess Baggage

Changi Tower Main Peak, Excess Baggage. Excess Baggage starts directly above Camp I at the base of a four-pitch, left-facing comer. (Camp I is at the base of the bottom tier of Changi Tower. Changi is two-tiered on its east face, with the bottom tier being much slabbier than the top tier.) Nicola Woolford (New Zealand), Abby Watkins (Australia) and I climbed this in four 5.9-5.10 pitches; the second and fourth included short bursts of easy A1 aid climbing. The first three pitches of this route were first climbed free by Wong and Kynan Bazley in 1995. The comer joins Norton and Weber’s route, which was then unknowingly climbed for the next eight pitches. Excess Baggage then branched left along the left-hand edge of the Off- White Spider, leading to two pitches, one of 5.9 and the other 5.10. This led to 100 meters of fourth-class ground and Camp II after three days’ climbing. Camp II was located on the southern saddle between the upper and lower tiers of Changi Tower’s east face.

The route continued up a prominent crack on the top headwall. This involved a 50-meter traverse on snow, followed by a short A1 overhanging aid section that led into the crack proper. It required two days to climb the flaring crack, with five pitches of 5.9 to 5.10+ free climbing interspersed with sections of A1 aid climbing. From the top of the crack, the route followed a rising traverse to the right along a moss-filled shallow seam. This was then followed by a pendulum into a parallel crack system, which led to a long sloping ledge threatened by cornices. The traverse pitch (A2+) was the crux of the route. On the left end of the ledge a 5.10 A2 pitch and a 5.9 A1 pitch led to the fifth and sixth nights’ bivy. Day six of the climb was spent in a wet snow storm.

The final rock pitches took a 50-meter, boulder-filled, left-facing comer to a low-angled 400-meter snow ridge. The Main Summit of Changi Tower was reached at 11:15 a.m. on day seven and is approximately 20 meters higher than the North Summit. The descent followed the ascent route to the half-way saddle and continued down a southwest-facing scree- and snow-filled couloir. Four hours were needed to descend the low-angled couloir, with only one short five-meter abseil required. Base Camp was reached at 1:30 a.m. after a 20-hour day.

Vera Wong, Australia