AAC Publications - http://publications.americanalpineclub.org

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Hispar Muztagh, Shimshal White Horn, Second Complete Ascent

Shimshal White Horn, second complete ascent. Alexandra and Mattias Robl and Markus Tannheimer made an ascent of Shimshal White Horn (6,303m) that is apparently only the second complete ascent to the highest point of the mountain. As reported in AAJ 2006, p. 352, the mountain was climbed in 1999 by an international party by the east spur of the northeast ridge from a base camp at Parigoz on the Yazghil Glacier. One member believed he had reached the summit on July 19 and believed his ascent to be the first of this shapely snow and ice pyramid south of Shimshal village (but see below). This climber reached his high point in a white out, and subsequent to the 2006 ascent and photos provided by the Germans he realized there was a point perhaps 30m higher 200m farther along the ridge toward the southwest. This higher top is the one the German trio claims to have reached, so making the first complete ascent of the mountain from the east. The first ascent was in fact made by a British expedition in 1986, see below.

The team acclimatized by making ascents of several smaller peaks in the region, some of which may have been previously unvisited. On July 11, from a high camp at 4,450m, Tannheimer and Mattias Robl climbed the 5,366m east summit of Chu Kurrti Dast. The ascent took only a few hours and reportedly featured ice up to 85°. Three days later both Robls made the ascent of the 5,700m west summit with a short section of vertical ice. From the 16th to 18th the team made ascents of both the east (5,730m) and west (5,685m) summits of Yeer Gattak (a.k.a. Sunrise Peak), relatively easy climbing but with a 70° section. The west summit had been reached previously.

On the 21st they established a base camp at 4,500m in the Yazghil Valley below the White Horn and the following day a high camp at 5,200m. Starting at 1 a.m. both Robls and Tannheimer climbed the steep 750m north-facing ice wall leading to the high col on the east spur, at a point where it starts to rise to the junction with the northeast ridge. This shortcuts the line taken in 1999, which started well to the east, reaching the crest of the east spur via the north flank, before traversing the rounded snow dome below the col; in 1999 the team thought the ice wall looked too dodgy. Despite an 85° section, they moved unroped and speedily, reaching the col at 5 a.m. From here they climbed near the crest until 150m from the top, where they traversed almost horizontally across the left flank, well below the crest, before climbing to the summit directly They reached the far (southwest) summit at 9:30 a.m., after climbing four pitches of ice up to 70° and rock to UIAA III. (The first ascensionist of this route rated the difficulties as AD, with snow and ice to 50°.) Unfortunately, members of this expedition declined to write a report for the Journal if a historical record of climbing on the mountain was also to be published. This report is based on an account published on Mattias Robl’s website and in the German magazine Klettern.

Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, CLIMB Magazine