Dhiang (a.k.a. Kampur), First Ascent. Our group in the Nangma Valley was made up of Andrei Volkov, Andrei Mariev, Ivan Dusharin and myself. In early July, we traveled to the Nangma Valley in the eastern Karakoram. Though we were impressed by our surroundings and our objective, a Korean expedition had arrived several days before us to attempt the north ridge of Shingu Charpa, so we decided to change our objective. (The Koreans ended up making the first ascent of the mountain via a route on the west face.)
After several scouting days, we gave our attention to a new big wall line on Amin Brakk. Seven pitches up the wall, we realized that one of our team member’s return schedule was too inflexible to continue with any hope of success. In the last week of July, we decided to move our efforts to the largely unexplored Ishkoman Valley in the Hindu Kush mountains northwest of Pakistan.
In the refreshing weather window during the first week of August, Ivan Dusharin and I made the first ascent (according to Karakoram expert, Ashraf Aman, owner of the Adventure Tours Pakistan agency) of the strikingly beautiful 5499-meter peak known in Italy as Kampur. The mountain had been scouted, and named, by Italian climbers several years before when they explored possibilities in the area. Nevertheless, the locals call the mountain Dhiang (Peak), although it is difficult to know whether this refers to the peak or the high pastures surrounding the base of the mountain. Our route was predominantly an ice climb up the northwest face, taking a direct line just to the right of a rock rib in the center of the face. The last 100 meters were along the airy northwest ridge. From a bivouac at the foot of the face (4050 meters), we climbed to the summit and back in a demanding 19-hour marathon on August 5.
The mountain’s idyllic base camp (3750m) is located on the shores of a three-kilometer- long lake, a two-day walk north of the village of Gotolti, in the scenic Ishkoman Valley. Gotolti is reached via a seven-hour jeep ride northwest of Gilgit. We made several other first ascents of smaller summits in the area, while sharing the valley with a large and very organized Italian expedition, which had come to map and climb the peaks along the Chiantar Glacier. For further information about the area, see the Italian web site http://www.intraisass.it/chiantar.
*Recipient of an AAC Lyman Spitzer Climbing Grant