American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Himalaya, Hindu Raj, Gordoghan Zom III, Buni Zom Mountain

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2005

Gordoghan Zom III, Buni Zom Mountain. Nikolas Kroupis and I first went to the Buni Zom range in July 2002 without any knowledge of the terrain and the geography of the peaks. Two years later (May-June) our goal remained the same, to climb Buni Zom Main Peak (6,551m). This time the two of us, with two more Greek climbers, Panos Sakellaris and Babis Politis, headed for the mountain. We started with two days light trek from the last village (Phargam) following the Phargam gol, and established our base camp at Kulakmali (3,950m). Hoping to get over the 300-meter rock wall that leads to the Khorabort glacier, our plan was to cross the glacier and reach the summit via a 300-meter ice face to the north ridge.

Unfortunately our efforts were cut off by very demanding rock climbing of nearly 150 meters. Bad weather and water coming from melted snow, from above, made the climbing route wet and even more difficult. We decided to go back and reach the summit from Gordoghan Glacier passing over Buni Zom North peak, as a New Zealand team did on the first ascent in 1957. We trekked back half way to Phargam village and met the foot of Gordoghan Glacier. Sakellaris and Politis trekked back to Phargam village and left for Chitral.

With the help of three porters, Kroupis and I scaled up to 4,700m and set a camp.

We arranged for the porters to come early the next morning to continue our way on the glacier. On the next day we were at 5,100m, having crossed the whole Gordoghan glacier, when we came before a dangerous net of crevasses hidden by fresh snow. It proved impossible to find a way through these crevasses. We set a second camp at 5,065m near the icefall. Next day we tried to continue but finally turned back and we set a camp at 4,915m and came up with the alternative plan of climbing Gordoghan Zorn I (6,240m). At 03:30 on June 9 we set out for Gordoghan Zom 1. We followed a cone moraine that leads to an ice gully (N36 08' 40.1"-E72 21 '31.9"). The route passes a moraine situated almost at the middle of the length of the Gordoghan glacier, and continues to the West face of Gordoghan Zom III. We left the Gordoghan Glacier behind us and took the ice gully that leads to a big snow-covered slope. The summit is not visible from this point. The peak that can be seen ahead has the Gordoghan Zom I summit behind it and on its left. We continued our way for this peak believing that this was Ghor- dogan Zom. Finally we reached a slope covered by thick ice between 40° and 50°. From this point we saw that there was a higher peak behind this first one. The last 200 meters were exhausting. At 11:00, Nikolas reached this first peak (N36 08' 59.2" - E72 22' 51.5" at 6,158m altitude GPS reading). This peak is not signed in Japanese 1:150,000 maps so we gave the name Gordoghan Zom III. Gordoghan Zom I is connected with this peak by a very narrow ridge about 300 meters long. This abrupt ridge is formed by eroded rock with some places covered by snow and had been impossible to be passed by a solo climber. Nikolas met me lower on the slope. It was 13:30 when we reached our tent and crawled in with exhaustion. We covered the 1,240 meters to the peak in 6 hours and we needed another 4 hours to come back. The snow condition had not been very good due to the early season. The best time to climb in the Buni Zom mountain range is in August.

George Zardalidis, Greece

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