American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Batura II, Attempt at Its First Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2003

Batura II, attempt at its first ascent. A six-man team from the Saxon Alpine Club of Germany made a spirited attempt on the unclimbed Batura II (7,762m), one of the highest unclimbed points remaining in the Karakoram. Tilo Dittrich, Günter Jung, Jan Lettke, Tom Niederlein, Christian and Markus Walter set up base camp on the Baltar Glacier in June and followed the route of the first ascensionists of 7,786m Batura I. In 1976 a German Alpine Club expedition penetrated the Eastern Baltar Glacier to the south of the peak and climbed up to the Batokshi Pass (ca 5,900m) on the ridge running north from Hachindar Chish. In the process they climbed the 6,050m Batokshi or Saddle Peak. Above the col the ridge fades into the steep upper slopes of the high Batura Group and the team set out across the south face of the main peak. After establishing five camps above Base, Hubert Bleicher and Herbert Oberhofer, who just two years previously had made the first ascent of neighboring Shispare, climbed the final 40°–45° snow slopes and reached the summit on June 30. Batokshi Peak was climbed again in July 1996 by a small international group that made the largely alpine-style fourth ascent of Batura I via the German Route.

The 2002 Saxon expedition crossed the rubble-covered Baltar Glacier to an advanced base at 4,250m and established Camp 1 towards the end of June at 5,240m. To reach the site of Camp 2 they had to climb through a narrow and dangerous couloir, dubbed the Gunbarrel by the 1976 German team, which squeezed through a small gap between a rock wall and large serac barrier. Camp 2 was placed at ca 5,800m on July 2 and shortly after, camp 3 above the Batokshi Pass. The team took around 250m of fixed rope and placed most of it on this section. On July 15 several team members were situated at camp 4 (6,560m) on the south face of Batura II, somewhat left of the German line, preparing for a summit assault the following day.

Generally the weather had been very mixed with frequent snow fall but on the 16th the day dawned gloriously and Jung with the two Walter brothers set off at 3:30 a.m. The snow conditions seemed reasonably acceptable to about 7,000m but above they realized the névé field they were climbing was loosely bonded over ice and would undoubtedly slide when hit by the rays of the sun. The three progressed to 7,100m before deciding it was too dangerous. The route was subsequently abandoned but not before four members had climbed Batokshi Peak.

Back at Base Camp the group split, half going for an exploratory walk up the Toltar Glacier, while the rest climbed a 150m rock tower above camp. This gave three bold pitches (IV, VI and VII or 5.10c) on excellent granite and was christened Phalwan Chish (ca 4,200m).

Lindsay Griffin, High Mountain INFO

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