American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum Range, Charakusa Valley, K7, South Face New Route and Repeat of Japanese Route; Nayser Brakk, Southeast Ridge, Tasty Talking, No More Tasty Talking; Kapura, West Ridge; K7 West, Attempt

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

K7, south face new route and repeat of Japanese Route; Nayser Brakk, southeast ridge, Tasty Talking, No More Tasty Talking; Kapura, west ridge; K7 West, attempt. The expedition included Americans Steve House (leader), Doug Chabot, Bruce Miller, Jeff Hollenbaugh, and myself, and Slovenian Marko Prezelj. We had permits for Kapura Peak (6,544m—unclimbed), K6 West (7,040m— unclimbed), and K7 (6,934m), all in this valley. We acclimatized by doing a number of rock climbs early in the trip. On June 28 Chabot and I climbed the British Route on Nayser Brakk (18,000ft), and Hollenbaugh and Miller attempted a new route on Nayser Brakk via the southwest ridge. On June 29 House and Prezelj also climbed the British route on Nayser Brakk. On June 30 House, Prezelj, and I completed a new route up the southeast ridge of Nayser Brakk (Tasty Talking—600m, III 5.10+) that started at a notch on the ridge part way up the peak. A couple of days later Miller and Prezelj added more pitches to this route by doing a start on the buttress right from base of the peak above the glacier (No More Tasty Talking—1,000+m, IV 5.10+). On July 1, Hollenbaugh and Miller climbed the south buttress on a 5,000m peak immediately down valley from Nayser Brakk.

During the period from—July 2 July 6 the expedition made the first ascent of Kapura Peak. On July 2, Chabot, House, and I climbed to an advanced base camp (ca 5,000m) on the glacier west of Kapura, and Hollenbaugh, Miller, and Prezelj set out from base camp to ABC the following day. Chabot, House, and I set out from ABC on July 3 and climbed the snow slopes of the southwest face of Kapura to gain a snow traverse leading to the west shoulder. The top of the shoulder provided a bivy site (6,100m). The next day we encountered technical difficulties on the west ridge above the bivy that included mixed terrain and a corniced ridge. With snowfall and limited visibility Chabot, House, and I reached the summit and returned to our bivy just at dark (1,500m, V M4). Hollenbaugh, Miller, and Prezelj reached the bivy on July 4, and Miller and Prezelj repeated the west ridge the following day. Chabot, Hollenbaugh, House, and I returned to base camp on July 5, and Miller and Prezelj arrived at base camp the following day.

On July 8–July 11 Steve and Jeff attempted Drifika but were not able to reach the summit via the original west ridge route because of bad weather.

On July 14 Miller and Prezelj did the first ascent of a rock tower below the south west face of K7 (Pt 4,900m: Difficult Life, 650m: 6c+ and A0).

On July 16 Jeff Hollenbaugh soloed the British Route on Nayser Brakk.

Starting late on July 24, Steve House made a solo first ascent of the south face of K7 in a single push in 41 hours base camp to base camp (2,400m, VI 5.10- WI4 M6 A2), making the second ascent of K7. Also starting on July 24, Chabot and Miller repeated the original 1984 Japanese route on K7 alpine style to do the third ascent of the peak in a five-day effort from base camp to base camp. They added many new pitches including a new route up the Fortress, a 300- meter buttress. The difficulties included overhanging ice and hard mixed climbing (2400m, VI WI5+ M6 A1). They descended House’s route to the glacier arriving in base camp on July 28.

Hollenbaugh, Prezelj, and I attempted the northwest ridge of K7 West (unclimbed) on July 24th. On that date we climbed from base camp up the valley west of the glacier that is below the northwest ridge and then dropped down a couloir at the head of the glacier to a bivy at a col at the base of the northwest ridge. We followed this route to avoid being exposed to dangerous ice cliffs above this glacier. The next day we climbed some difficult mixed ground on the west face, which we ascended to gain the northwest ridge. We left a second bivy on the ridge crest on July 26, but were stopped several hundred meters shy of the summit by unconsolidated snow. We turned back after Prezelj triggered a small slab avalanche. We were safe, but the avalanche took my pack for a 1,000-meter ride to the glacier. We found extensive evidence from the 1982 Japanese attempt of the same route in the form of bolts, pins, and fixed cable ladders. During our 2,400-meter climb we experienced difficulties of WI4 M6. [Several articles, photos, and a map from this expedition are in the Features section of this Journal.]

Steve Swenson, AAC

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