American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Rakoposhi-Harimosh Mountains, Panmah Muztagh, Ogre, South Buttress, Attempt, and Latok IV, South Summit, Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2000

Ogre, South Buttress, Attempt, and Latok IV, South Summit, Ascent. Alexander Huber, Toni Gutsch and Jan Mersch reached Islamabad on May 31. Thomas Huber arrived on June 3. Our lost equipment (24 out of 37 pieces) finally arrived on June 9. We reached Skardu on June 11 and Askoli on the 13th. After a four-day walk-in, we reached Base Camp on June 17. We established Advanced Base Camp (5000m) June 26 and three days later began up the south buttress of the Ogre, establishing a portaledge camp at ca. 6000 meters. We chose the south buttress, an intimidating bow of rock which, due to its protruding nature and steepness, is not exposed to avalanches, rock- and icefall. The pillar was first climbed by the Frenchmen Fine and Vauquet 15 years ago. High on the mountain, the two were hit by a storm and had to give up just below the summit. In 1997, Jan Mersch and Jochen Haase reached the top of the pillar in just six days from BC, but were hit by a storm and didn’t reach the top either.

We then changed our objective to Latok IV (6450m). After exploring the route and after several days of bad weather we started our first attempt, but this attempt ended at ABC in bad weather.

On July 10, we started our next attempt, which ended at approximately 6300 meters in the col between the double-summitted Latok IV. On July 16, we started another attempt on the Ogre, ascending from BC to the portaledge camp on the buttress. The next morning we were offended by a cloud barrier only 50 kilometers away from us. In view of the need for another four days of good weather, we canceled our attempt and rappelled down to BC. On July 18, we had another day of unexpectedly good weather, but the barometer was falling andsnow began to fall the night of July 19. Another week of bad and unstable weather bound us to BC. During the night of the 27th, it suddenly began clearing and we immediately started to climb up to the portaledge camp again, where we bivied. The next morning we canceled the attempt due to a heavy storm and health problems in the team. Jan left the expedition after the attempt and started to travel back to Germany on July 29. All further attempts ended in snow or rain, so we canceled the Ogre attempt on August 4. Toni left BC on August 6.

On August 8 at 11 p.m., Alexander and Thomas stumbled up 12 kilometers of rubble-covered glacier toward the base of Latok IV’s southwest face, which comprises mainly steep ice fields quite similar to the Spider on the north face of the Eiger. We climbed them without belaying to get up and down the hill in a day, only roping up when the angle became steep just below the ridge. We both reached the (lower) south summit (6450m), then made it back to BC 22 hours after leaving. The porters came on August 10, which marked the end of the expedition.

Alexander Huber, Germany

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