Hindu Raj, UIAA International Expedition Training Camp. The 23 young participants from 13 different countries (and all five continents) of the UIAA International Expedition Training Camp started their expedition on September 3. The expedition was organized by Jean-Claude Marmier, then-President of the Comité de 1’Himalaya et des Expéditions Lointaines of the FFME. Taking into account the number of participants, a suitable area was needed that could accommodate a dozen rope teams on a large selection of varied and unclimbed objectives. With his great experience of the mountains of the world, Bernard Domenech knew where to find such an area: the Hindu Raj massif, lying to the east of the chain of the Hindu Kush. A rarely visited massif, it is today one of the rare areas where there remain many unclimbed summits of 5000 to 6000 meters. Big granite pillars, couloirs and great narrow ridges were present in the dozens, allowing for something for all tastes and all levels. The area is also very attractive because access is only three days from Islamabad to Base Camp.
The young mountaineers were on their first expedition. The objectives of the Camp included the organization, techniques and logistics of an expedition in a distant country as well as alpinism itself. The climbing teams, most of which had been agreed upon by advance e-mail exchanges (vive l’internet!), opened up a “véritable festival de premières”: 14 new routes in total, which were as often on rock as on ice or mixed terrain. The mountains carried little snow—last winter was dry. The weather was exceptional: three perfect weeks, almost without interruption. The conditions became difficult, very different from those that Domenech experienced the year before. The main couloirs quickly became very exposed to stonefall.
Everyone chose the route that suited him/her. At Base Camp, Emmanuel Pellissier, supported by Bernard Domenech and Victor Gryshchenko (Ukraine), orchestrated the climbing. Everyone, then, could rely on the counsel of experienced guides. Thus conditions were right so that all could acquire experience on virgin terrain—remote, but with an acceptable level of safety.
Ascents achieved during the camp were as follows (all routes are new except Pashchoshi):
• Pt. 4980m via the Northeast Couloir (Couloir du Grand-Père) and East Ridge (ADinf, 1000m), M. Peloquin (CND) and G. Coubat (F), September 12.
• Pt. 4380m (first point on the northwest arete of Pt. 4980m) via the northwest arête (Dsup 5c A0, 350m), B. Drouillat and O. Mansiot (F), September 25.
• Col 4800m (between Pt. 5250m and Chikari) via the couloir on the north face (D 45° 3, 800m), M. Peloquin (CND) and G. Coubat (F), R. Wesley (NZ) and C. Argo (CND)
• Col 4800m (between Pt. 5250m and Chikari) via the icefall on the north face (VI5 ice 4c, 900m), Ildi Kiss (H) and E. Pelissier (F), September 25.
• Pt. 5400m (forked point of the northeast ridge of Chikari) via the north face (TD 75° VI, 1400m), W. Dvorak and R. Liemerth (CZ), September 17-18.
• Breche 5500m (on the north ridge of Chikari) via the east couloir (TD, 1500m, very exposed), Breserk, Kovak and Bevjk (SLO), September 16-17.
• Coup de Sabre (5350m) via the East Couloir (D 50°, 400m), Breserk, Kovak and Bevjk (SLO), September 12.
• Chikari (5928m), West Face (TDinf, 1200m), by two routes, one on the Coup de Sabre and another on the point to the left of Coup de Sabre, Breserk, Kovak and Bevjk (SLO), M. Peloquin (CND) and G. Coubat (F), R. Wesley (NZ), September 21-24.
• Pt. 5620m (right of Coup de Sabre) via the South Ridge (TD 5c, 300m), R. Jarvis and S. Ashworth (GB), September 21.
• Pt. 4850m (“Amman Chhish”) via the North Face (AD 45°, 100m), R. Jarvis, S. Ashworth (GB) and C. Staunton (IRL), September 22.
• Breche ca. 5500m (on the east ridge of Makutchum) via the South Couloir (AD 45°, 650m), Ildi Kiss (H), E. Pellissier (F), B. Drouillat (F) and A. Norreslet (DK), attempt stopped at 5850m on the east ridge by bad rock (TDsup/EDinf mixed, 12 pitches, 350m), September 17-18.
• Pt. 4300m (“Jute Chhish”) via the South Ridge (D 5c, 300m), B. Drouillat and C. Gardien (F), September 22.
• Pt. 4400m (“Nanar Peak”) via the East Ridge (TDinf 5c, 400m), Ildi Kiss (H), E. Pellissier (F), Jawed Ali (PK) and O. Mansiot (F), September 22.
• Pt. 5415m via the Southwest Couloir (Dsup, 65° at exit, 1200m), C.Argo (CND) and R.Wesley (NZ), September 12-14. Repeated in one 18-hour day by Ildi Kiss (H), E. Pellissier (F), B. Drouillat (F) and A. Norreslet (DK) Pashchoshi (5508m) (from the Borum Bar Glacier) via the North Arête (AD, 600m). Repeated by V. Gryshchenko (UKR), E. Von Delft
(SA), S. Darmach (P), G. Quercia (I) and Ch. Rother (D) September 23.
On “la Pierre d’Orthaz,” a large block on the moraine, several difficult traverses up to 6a were established, while at Base Camp, about ten top-roped pitches from 5c-7a were put up.
Numerous photographs and maps prepared the previous year by Bernard Domenech (now president of the Comité de 1’Himalaya et des Expéditions Lointaines) can be found at www.expe.com.
Jean Claude Marmier, France