American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Baltoro Muztagh, Uli Biaho and Trango Groups, Great Trango Tower, Northwest Face, Completion of Ukrainian Route (2003) and New Variation to Azeem Ridge; Broad Peak, Attempt

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

Great Trango Tower, northwest face, completion of Ukrainian route (2003) and new variation to Azeem Ridge; Broad Peak, attempt. In the summer of 2007 the Krasnoyarsk Federation of Alpinism, with support of the administration of the Krasnoyarsk Region, organized a Karakoram expedition. The goals were to ascend Great Trango Tower via technically complex new routes and to ascend Broad Peak by the classic route. Eleven climbers, a trainer, and a doctor, all from Krasnoyarsk, took part in the expedition.

We formed two teams: one for the Ukrainian route of 2003, the other to try a line right of the Russian route of 1999. The first team included Vladimir Arkhipov, Sergei Cherezov, Yuri Glasyrin, Oleg Khvostenko, Andrei Litvinov, and Aleksandr Yany-shevich. The second was made up of Evgenni Belyaev, Aleksei Komissarov, Igor Loginov, and Aleksandr Mikhalitsin.

The teams started at about the same time, on the 6th and 7th of July. On the Ukrainian route, we climbed capsule-style with portaledges and a large reserve of provisions. We had a precise description of the route, and at the end of every pitch we found a bolt with a rappel carabiner.

Meanwhile the second team moved upward, crossing the Russian route. On the fourth day they emerged onto a shelf at the base of the steep upper wall. A band of severely broken rock awaited them. Not finding a sufficiently safe passage, the guys began to exit to the right, deviating from their planned line. Toward the end of the fourth day they emerged onto the Azeem Ridge (Cordes-Wharton, 2004). They required another 2½ days to ascend the upper part of this ridge. On July 12 they reached their high point at one of the towers along the summit ridge. The weather began to worsen, and the prognosis for the coming three days was not consoling. The team decided to descend via their ascent route.

By this time on the Ukrainian route we had reached our final bivouac and climbed another 150m on the summit tower. We estimated there remained about 200m to the summit. During the night a storm started. The next day, in abominable weather, we succeeded in climbing another 50m and reached the point from which the Ukrainian team had retreated in 2003. On July 14, with the storm continuing, we climbed three more ropelengths and emerged onto the ridge. The summit was very close, but the next day the storm did not allow us to leave our portaledges. On July 16 the storm took a respite, and at 11 a.m. we reached the southwestern summit of Great Trango Tower. We quickly descended via the route of ascent, once again in a snowstorm. On the evening of July 17 our friends met us at the foot of the wall, and at base camp a celebratory dinner awaited us.

On Broad Peak, having acclimatized sufficiently, we immediately ascended to Camp 3 at 7,100m and cached our equipment at Camp 4, at 7,500m. The next day the weather was outstanding, and many climbers went from Camp 3 to the summit, but we descended for a rest. After our rest, when the forecast promised great weather, we went up. Unfortunately the prediction did not come true. After three days of waiting for an improvement in Camp 3, we were forced to descend to catch our plane. Thus our expedition ended.

Oleg Khvostenko, Russia (translated by Henry Pickford)

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