Batura II (7,762m), first ascent. Considered one of the highest unclimbed independent summits in the world, Batura II in the western Karakoram had repelled many expeditions because of objective dangers and difficult climbing above 6,500m. In the summer of 2008 Kim Chang-ho, who had reached seven summits over 8,000m in the previous three years (including a traverse of Nanga Parbat in 2005), led a University of Seoul Alpine Club expedition to the top of Batura II in commemoration of the university’s 90th anniversary.
The team of nine young climbers approached by the Muchuhar (a.k.a. Muchichul) Glacier and placed base camp beside the Batokshi Glacier at 4,115m. Camp 1 was on the upper end of the Batokshi Glacier (5,150m); Camp 2 was on the large plateau north of Batokshi Peak at 5,950m. Above Camp 3, at 6,650m, the climbers traversed left across ramps below a 700m rock wall on the upper south face, placing a final camp at 7,200m. The expedition fixed about 2,400m of rope between Camp 1 and Camp 4.
On their first summit bid, Kim Chang-ho and Choi Suk-mun reached Camp 4 and intended to go for the top the next day. However, having worked the route up to Camp 4 over the past nine days, and in poor weather, the two climbers’ supporting cast struggled with exhaustion, and the decision was made for everyone to retreat to base camp. The team recuperated for three days on the green terraces at 4,115m and then left for their second attempt on August 7. They arrived at Camp 4 on August 9, and at 4 a.m. on August 11, Kim Chang-ho and Choi Suk-mun left again for the summit with serious avalanche risk on the upper slopes. After only four and a half hours they arrived at the summit. The climbers stayed about 50 minutes on the summit, and then started the descent to Camp 3, where three team members awaited their arrival. They briefly rested with a snack and tea, and then the team of five evacuated all of the gear and continued down to Camp 2. All of the team was safely off the mountain by August 12, with all of the equipment; some fixed rope was left on the rock wall.
Christine Pae, Korean Alpine Federation