Asia, Pakistan, Baltoro Muztagh, Uli Biaho and Trango Groups, La Reina Roja, Southwest Face

Publication Year: 2008.

La Reina Roja, southwest face. I first visited the Trango group in 2000 to try the Slovenian route on Nameless Tower. Our expedition was unsuccessful, and it took me seven years to return to Pakistan. There are not many big-wall climbers in Mexico, and fewer who share the goals and could afford the expense of climbing in Pakistan. So I traveled alone and asked my friend Ali Muhammad to be my partner and guide for this expedition. I had met him as a guide and cook for our expedition in 2000. He was interested in learning the techniques of big-wall climbing. I taught him the basics, and we chose a wall 300m up from the Nameless Tower base camp on the Trango Glacier, by the trail to Shipton base camp. After studying the line with a telescope, we started up the left skyline and fixed the first two pitches. Over four days of bad weather we carried everything we’d need to the base of the wall and hauled one bag up the first two pitches.

On June 19 we started up, prepared to head to the top. We bivouacked at the end of the fifth and eighth pitches, with two pitches fixed above our second bivy. On June 21 we left the pig atop the eighth pitch, thinking it would only be four more pitches from the top of our fixed lines to the summit. After seven pitches we reached the top just before sunset. We’d forgotten headlamps, so the descent was epic. The rope got stuck three times. We reached our bivy gear at 1 a.m. on June 22, and then continued down the next morning after some sleep.

We called our route Estrella de la Mañana (or Morning Star or Skarchan): 936m, 5.10b A1, 17 pitches.

Luis Carlos García Ayala, Mexico