American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Rakaposhi Range, Garumbar Glacier, Uyumrung Sar, Second Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2007

Garumbar Glacier, UyumrungSar, second ascent. Four friends and I aimed to explore the Garumbar Glacier, the first tributary to the south of the main Hispar Glacier. We hadn’t seen any pictures of this valley, nor had any information, and were curious about the northeast face of Spantik, which rises from the head of the glacier. Unfortunately, its 3,000m of rocky and, in places, vertical face was threatened by big hanging seracs on every side. So we looked at several neighboring 6,000m peaks and eventually climbed one, which we named Uyum Rum Chhish after the name of the yak pastures with small lakes that lie at the base of the mountains east ridge.

Our base camp was situated at 4,000m [Uyumrung], six to eight hours walk from Hispar Village. It was a convenient site, grassy, covered with flowers, and with water flowing down from a collection of towering rock pinnacles. The rock on these 500m vertical walls looked to be sound granite [one of the 300m faces was climbed by a British party at E1/E2; see below], but the same could not be said of our mountain. Rocky outcrops there were composed of a layered and sandy material, unsuitable for protection with pitons and stoppers.

We climbed the east ridge, placing a tent at 5,000m. From there we climbed the mountain in a single push, in a 23-hour roundtrip. It wasn’t very difficult, but neither was it easy. Heavy corniced ridges led to domes of deep snow, hidden crevasses, and bergschrunds. The finish led over a complicated cake of seracs, with some technical ice climbing. We arrived on the summit, which we felt was over 6,000m, in light snow. From there we rappelled from a stake. We then downclimbed and rappelled from Abalalovs and snow bollards to reach the tent. Three of us began the climb: Fernando Rubio, Iñaki Ruiz Peribañez, and I. However, Rubio stayed in the tent, and only Ruiz and I reached the summit.

The peak we climbed is the one immediately left of Spantik as you contemplate the classic view of the Golden Pillar from the west, so it might be possible that our mountain already has a name. In any case it was super to be climbing in a largely unknown area packed with elegant 6,000m summits having no names and no existing routes.

We spent 25 days at or above base camp in July and reached Hispar village by jeep in nine hours from Karimabad. We first traveled to Nagar on a tarmac road, then along difficult tracks and dangerous bridges.

Kike De Pablo, Spain

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