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Asia, Pakistan, Masherbrum Range, Nangma Valley, Changi Tower (5,800m), South Face, Anké Asashe

Changi Tower (5,800m), south face, Anké Asashe. The expedition was completed by Nestor Ayerbe, Oscar Perez, and myself, all from Huesca, northern Spain. Our mountain club, Peña Guara, supported the expedition. On July 21 we arrived at the 4,200m base camp in bad weather. During the next days we looked for a new line on the south face. The clouds didn’t help us very much. Finally we chose a line and started carrying the loads to the base, at 4,600m. The approach was only one hour from our base camp, up a pretty comfortable hill full of edelweiss and cows. On the 26th and 27th we had good weather and climbed five pitches going slightly left, 300 meters up to 5.11-. On the last pitch I found a bolt from an old attempt, possibly used for rappelling. But we didn’t find any signs of passage before this, so possibly the attempt was to the left of our line. When I arrived at the end of the pitch I realized that we should rappel down to a gully to continue the route. Perhaps that was the cause of the old retreat. We rappeled 25 meters to the gully and established the Camp 1 at 4,900m. We rappelled down the gully and left fixed ropes up to Camp 1. Bad weather arrived and we had to stop for eight days. On August 6 we returned to the wall. We fixed five more pitches up to 5.10c and A2, and hauled everything in two days. August 8: at night it started snowing and we came down again, leaving our ropes fixed. After some days of bad weather, we went up again on the 11th, but when we arrived at Camp 1 it started snowing again. We knew that the wall has a gully where is possible to gain the col and the main tower, so we decided to carry everything to establish Camp 2 and at least do some work in this horrible weather. We walked up the gully for three hours and left all our bivy stuff at 5,250m.

On August 13 we jumared up the ropes and climbed three pitches. We expected to arrive at the gully that day, but a section of aid climbing (A3) slowed us very much, and we only managed to arrive at a big ledge where we had to bivy (5,300m). We were only carrying a tent as a bivy equipment, and we only had bread, no water; we passed a cold and hungry night. The next day we traversed right on the big ledge looking for the more obvious way to arrive at the col. We found the line opened by some Spaniards in 1999 called Ludopa- tia (see AAJ 2000) and followed it for two pitches to the col. We arrived at Camp 2 very dehydrated and hungry. The next three days we climbed and fixed ropes on the tower until the storm returned. It was technical climbing, with lots of aid and free up to 5.10+.

After eight more days of bad weather we decided to go up again despite the falling snow, just because we had to leave soon. We didn’t know if we would finish the route or just remove the ropes. We slept at Camp 2 on August 25. At 3 a.m. we started climbing, arriving at the col at 4 a.m. (5,400m). We followed Ludopatia most of the time, although we did some variations. It was snowing; sometimes the clouds enveloped us, sometimes the wind dissolved them and froze us. Nobody mentioned going down, so we continued up. The sloping ledges were covered in fresh snow and made even the easiest climbing scary. Then Oscar finished the route at the south summit in the middle of the storm. We didn’t reach the main summit; it would have required 80 meters or so of easy snow walking [Editor’s note: 80m of vertical height gain but some distance horizontally]. After eight rappels and some hours more between the clouds, we arrived at camp 2 at 9 p.m. We left one bolt and 5 pins in the entire route at the belays to rappel down the tower. Anké Asashe is 1,150 meters, 24 pitches, VI 5.11 A3.

Cecilia Buil, Peña Guara, Spain