American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Hispar Muztagh, Khunyang Chhish (7852m), West Ridge Attempt on Pt. 6100m

  • Climbs And Expeditions
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  • Publication Year: 2004

Khunyang Chhish (7,852m), west ridge attempt and Pt. 6,100m. Locals say Khunyang Chhish means “the corner peak.” In 1892 Martin Conway wrote about Khunyang Chhish and in 1908 Workman published a photo of it in the book The Call of the Snowy Hispar. A joint Pakistani- British expedition led by E.J.E. Mills in 1962 was the first to attempt Khunyang Chhish. In 1965 a Japanese team led by Shiroki tried the south ridge. In 1971 a Polish expedition made the first ascent of the south ridge (Andrzej Heinrich, Jan Stryczynski, Ryszard Szafirski, and Andrzej Zawada). In 1979 a Japanese team led by Echizenya made the first ascent of the North Peak (7,200m). In 1980 and 1981 British teams attempted the northwest spur to north ridge, reaching 6,900m. In 1988 a British team led by Andrew Wingfield made the second ascent via the northwest spur to the north ridge.

I have been interested in Khunyang Chhish for a long time. When I was at K2 Base camp as the leader of 1985 Japanese expedition, I met the late Andrzej Zawada, leader of the 1971 Polish Khunyang Chhish expedition and the first to summit. Since then, I dreamed of climbing Khunyang Chhish some day. In 1994, after I climbed Muztagh Ata, I visited Pakistan to research routes on Khunyang Chhish. In 1995, 1996,1999, and 2002 I made subsequent visits to the area and made several attempts. In 2003 a group of climbers approached me about trying Khunyang Chhish yet a fourth time. After getting acclimatized on Rashphari Peak (5,058m), we left Hispar and stayed at Furoling Chhish the following day. With 78 porters we reached our base camp (4,200m) on May 30.

We began climbing on June 1 and checked the foot of the complicated west ridge. In the first week we climbed a total of 23 pitches of mixed ice, snow, and rock. We returned to base camp because of snowfall and strong wind. Days later, after the weather cleared, we reached a broad snow shoulder after resorting to aid climbing to pass a difficult rock section. More bad weather allowed only 11 pitches to be climbed over the next few days.

Cl was established on June 21 and over the next week we climbed 21 more pitches. Part of the team reached the end of the snow ridge. From here we checked the route ahead. The descent to a col seemed very risky because of avalanche, so on June 29 we descended once more to base camp. The route became very dangerous due to melting snow and ice, and there was much rockfall that damaged our ropes.

On June 30 we had a meeting to decide on a plan for the final push. The route to the 7,350m West Peak of Khunyang Chhish didn’t appear to be too difficult for us but our supplies were running low. We decided to climb only the 6,100m snow peak on the ridge, which no one had climbed before. On July 3 Kazuya Hiraide (who has skied from the top of Cho Oyu), Takeshi Yamakawa, and HAP Shaheen Baig reached the summit of the snow peak. On July 4 Tosio Sakairi, Masakat- su Tamura, Kazuo Tobita, and HAP Muhammad Hussain also reached the summit. On July 9 we left base camp in the rain.

Kazuo Tobita, Japanese Alpine Club

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