American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Nanga Parbat Range, Baltoro Muztagh, Little Trango Tower, First Ascent, and Hainabrakk East Tower, Unfinished Symphony

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2001

Little Trango Tower, First Ascent, and Hainabrakk East Tower, Unfinished Symphony. Operating out of Shipton base camp in July, Joshua Wharton and Brian McMahon established new routes on two area towers. The PM Wall (V- 5.10+), named for Wharton’s late mother, ascends the southeast face of Little Trango Tower. This previously unclimbed tower is approached via the long gully that starts at Trango base camp. From the top of the gully, one traverses south along the base of Little Trango, surmounting several short fifth-class sections. The route proper starts in the snow at the bottom of the south face, and follows the obvious wide crack system as it leans left up the face.

The PM Wall was climbed all free and hammerless in one day. The climbing was uniformly excellent and ranged from technical face climbing to a long off width pitch that began out a roof and split the face above. Because we had not brought any bolts, and there were no cracks on the beautiful table-like summit, we rappelled off a large block that (probably) weighed more than either of us.

The haulbags were also left behind on our other route, but we brought a small selection of pins and one hammer. We climbed Unfinished Symphony (VI 5.10+ A2+) over two days, with one pack that the second wore while jugging. The only supplies were a dromedary bag of water, a few energy bars, some Gore-Tex, and a Bibler tent, sans poles, to share as a bivy sack. Unfinished Symphony begins where the talus meets the base of the south buttress, which connects to Hainabrakk East Tower by a long ridge. The route includes a great deal of easy, runout climbing and some incredible thin cracks up a corner that screams to be freed. We climbed the last pitch as it began to rain, and then rappelled the route though the storm. Unfinished Symphony awaits a second ascent that follows the ridge to Hainabrakk’s summit and completes the music.

Brian McMahon

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