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Asia, Pakistan, Hindu Raj, Karka and Six Other Peaks in and near the Chhantir Valley

Karka and six other peaks in and near the Chhantir Valley. For the fourth time in 11 years, Franco Brunello led an expedition of the Alpine Club (CAI) Section of Montecchio Maggiore to the Hindu Raj for exploratory mountaineering and trekking. In August they placed base camp at 3,980m, two hours northwest of the village of Daudo Chat, north of Ghotulti in the Chhantir Valley. In addition to Brunello, expedition members Mara Babolin, Tarcisio Bellò, Roberta Bocchese, Andrea Caprara, and Bruno Castegnaro ascended various unclimbed peaks.

Of the expedition’s seven ascents, the most difficult was Karka (6,222m). Babolin, Bellò, Bocchese, and Castegnaro climbed this beautiful peak over three days (August 12–14) via ice slopes on the northeast side (ED+), accessed by crossing Amin Pass (5,050m). Bellò returned to make the solo first ascent of Quinto Peak (5,684m, ED-) from the same side of the pass.

The expedition also climbed and proposed names for Aga Khan Peak (5,678m, TD-), Vicentini Peak (5,750m, AD+), the Red Pillar (4,500m, ED-), and Belvedere Peak (4,520m, PD, possibly climbed before). In addition, they climbed Peak 5,519m (TD) and subsequently auctioned the name to raise money for an aqueduct in Ghotulti. The Somerset Ski Club (Sci Club Somerset) in Turin donated 8,500 euros to name the mountain Somerset Ski Club Peak.

Over four expeditions, Brunello and his teammates have climbed more than 30 peaks in this area of the Hindu Raj; they also have completed a number of innovative treks across high passes. A list of these peaks and their coordinates, along with Brunello’s maps and additional photos, is available at the AAJ website: www.americanalpineclub.org/pages/page/47. The editors hope to prepare a comprehensive survey of the Italian exploration of this area for the 2009 edition of this Journal.

Dougald MacDonald, from reports by Franco Brunello and Tarcisio Bellò