Sub-6000m peaks (Karakoram and Hindu Raj), attempts and ascents of new routes. On June 5 the Korean Five Peaks Expedition set off from Seoul for the Karakoram and Hindu Kush. The seven-man expedition, led by Gi-seok Seo, set out to make ascents of five peaks less than 6000m. These peaks were Khache Brangsa (5560m) and Ghonoboro (5500m) above the Arandu Valley, Mustum (5620m) and Shikari (5928m) in the Yasin Valley, and Bubulimotin (6000m) in the Hunza Valley.
First ascents were made on the North (5350m) and South (5560) peaks of Khache Brangsa in semi-alpine style. On June 15 base camp was established at 3800m and on the 18th ABC at 4300m. Chang-ho Kim, Seoung-mook Im, Gi-heon Jang, and Seong-moon Choi reached the summit of the North Peak on the 28th. The team bivouacked for the night at the 5240m col between the North and South Peaks, and the following day Chang-ho Kim and Seong-moon Choi reached the summit of the South or Main Peak. They spent three consecutive days climbing this new route, which was named Gosanja and rated 5.9 and WI5 M4.
From the Khache Brangse base camp, Gi-seok Seo, Chang-ho Kim, and Seong-mook Im climbed on the northwest face of Ghonboro in semi-alpine style. The climb took them three days. On the first night they bivouacked at 4900m and on the second at 5380m. The following morning the weather deteriorated into heavy snowfall and subsequently rock fall increased down their line. They were only able to reach 5380m, just 120 meters shy of the summit. The 1350-meter route was named Great Balor and rated WI4 M6.
A few weeks later team members, Gi-seok Seo, Seong-mook Im, and Myeong-hee Lee nearly climbed Mustum Peak in the Darkot region of the Hindu Raj. They climbed in alpine style. From an ABC they first bivouacked at 5100m, then climbed up into a couloir, where they bivouacked again at 5350m. They were finally stopped just 50 meters short of the summit on the evening of the third day, retreating due to an increasing night chill factor and lack of provisions and equipment. Once again, the team exercised care on the potentially dangerous descent. They rated the climb 5.9 M5 WI4.
On July 29, Chang-ho Kim and Seong-moon Choi climbed Shikari in alpine style via the northeast couloir. They spent three nights and four days completing the first ascent of the northwest route, Goxienzi, a 2000-meter wall rated M4 WI4. From ABC, the trio climbed 1,500 meters on their first day and on the second made the summit and retreated to a snow hole about two-thirds of the way down to their previous night’s bivouac. On the third day they descended to their first bivouac site, where they rested. They then continued further west along the ridge and down a less steep slope to regain their base camp. Later, the Korean Five Peaks Expedition was forced to retreat from Bubulimotin due to unfavorable weather conditions, falling rocks and injuries to three of their climbers. The team returned to Seoul on August 28th.
Peter Jensen-Choi, Korea