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Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Trango Group, Trango Monk, First Ascent; Peak 4,700m (Garda Peak), First Ascent, Karakoram Khush; Nameless Tower, Eternal Flame, Alpine-style Ascent; Rock Routes in Valley

Great Trango Tower; southwest buttress, Azeem Ridge. Josh Wharton’s and my route starts on the lower right of the broad southwest buttress at just under 4,000m, and climbs to the SW Summit (ca 6,237-6,250m, depending on the map) of Great Trango Tower. This was 17 pitches beyond the highest anchors we found from previous attempts by other parties in 1990 and 2000. We climbed 54 pitches with 60m ropes and simulclimbing a handful of pitches on the lower half. Twenty-five of the pitches were 5.10 or harder. We named the route Azeem Ridge and rated it 5.11R/X M6 A2. Azeem is an Urdu word that means “great,” in size or stature, and, more importantly, “great” as a greeting of fondness and respect between people. Azeem accurately summarizes our feelings about the wonderful people we met in the northern areas of Pakistan.

We did no fixing and carried no bolt kit. We started climbing around 9 a.m. on July 24 and summited around noon on July 28. The second jugged with the pack where it was steep, which was probably half of the route. We clipped fixed gear from previous attempts when we saw it—mostly belay bolts, and up to a half-dozen protection bolts—but we did not use any of the fixed ropes we saw disappointingly abandoned along the route (after our descent, we scrambled up and cleaned one that someone had fixed and abandoned at the start). We carried off all of our garbage (empty fuel canister and food wrappers) but left a few protection pieces fixed along with five rap anchors (many cams) and our ropes that got stuck on our final rappel. [A complete account of this climb can be found in the Features section of this AAJ.]

Kelly Cordes, AAC