American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Shimshal Area—Shuijerab Group, Shuwert Sar (6,152m), First Ascent

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2008

Shuwert Sar (6,152m), first ascent. I had only three weeks for my summer vacation in 2007, so I chose to try mountaineering in the Shimshal region, where it is relatively easy to approach the mountains. Guided by the panoramic photos taken by the 2002 Yokohama party (see Japanese Alpine News Vol. 3, pages 27–36) and talks with my colleagues in the Fukuoka Alpine Club, we picked a noble triangular peak east of Shimshal village and north of Shimshal Pass. This peak is one of those forming the divide between the East Shuijerab and Shuwert glaciers; its height was listed as ca 6,150m on the Yokohama party’s map, and a GPS reading made at the top later showed 6,152m. A 6,429m peak is shown at the head of Shuwert Glacier on the map prepared by Jerzy Wala and published in Switzerland, but such a high peak does not exist here. We could find no record of any climbs surrounding the upper East Shuijerab Glacier, although a French party seems to have reached the northern fringe of the glacier in 2002, according to our high-altitude porter, Lehmat Raheem.

On July 30 we arrived at Shimshal village by driving two jeeps from Karimabad. After four days’ march along the Pamir-i-Tang Valley with 23 porters, we reached base camp (4,533m) on August 2. The three other members of my party immediately left with the porters to continue trekking. Only Raheem, a guide, and a cook remained with me at the desolate valley basin. On August 3, in poor weather, Raheem and I trudged up a scree bed to the ice plateau at 5,150m, where we pitched Camp 1. The East Shuijerab Glacier, a wide, gentle snow slope, stretched into the far distance. We had started down to base camp when a triangular snow peak began to peep through the clouds. It must be our mountain—so beautiful but still a long way off!

On August 4 it was fine all day and I moved up to Camp 1 with Raheem in the afternoon. In the early morning the western sky was unusually dark, but we left camp anyway and tramped on hard snow up to the glacier head. I chose a roundabout route to bypass a steep headwall, and we reached the divide at 8:15 a.m. My GPS showed 5,950m. Across the ridge was the Shuwert Glacier, and beyond were the Pamir Mountains.

At 6,100m thigh-deep snow on the peak’s northern ridge forced us to detour to the right, where Raheem led a steep pitch past a big crevasse to regain the ridge. We took turns breaking snow until we reached the top at 10:25 a.m. Strong winds blew, but we could enjoy the surrounding view and confirm this was the highest point along the divide. By 2:30 p.m. we were back at Camp 1 and immediately fell into sleep.

After returning home, I thought about a good name for this major peak in the heart of the Shuwert Glacier region and simply decided on Shuwert Sar (Shuwert means “black stone” in the Wakhi language), and so registered the name at the Pakistani Survey Office.

Wataru Takasaki, Japan

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