Baintha Kabata, First Ascent

Pakistan, Karakoram, Panmah Muztagh
Author: Colin Haley. Climb Year: 2008. Publication Year: 2009.

Baintha Kabata is the peak in back in the center, as viewed from the upper Choktoi Glacier, near base camp. The Turgeon-Haley South Ridge is the left skyline. Photo by Maxime Turgeon

Maxime Turgeon and I traveled to the Choktoi Glacier in August and September to attempt the unclimbed southeast buttress of the Ogre. Although weather denied us an honest attempt on the Ogre, during our acclimatization period we made the first ascent of a prominent peak at the head of the Choktoi Glacier, which we named Baintha Kabata (“Ogre's Son” in Urdu). Baintha Kabata is connected to the Ogre by the ridge descending from the Ogre's northeast buttress. The 5,000m col between these peaks connects the Choktoi Glacier to the glacial basin below the Ogre's untouched north face, and eventually the Biafo-Hispar glacial system.

We made the ascent on September 3 and 4 via the south ridge. From the head of the Choktoi Glacier, at 4,700m, we climbed slopes up to 60° to reach the broad col between Baintha Kabata and the Ogre, and then along a steep snow ridge to the start of the technical difficulties at 5,200m. For the first several pitches we climbed mixed terrain up to M5 on the right side of the ridge, finally returning to the crest proper via a steep chimney of water ice. The ridge reared more steeply here, and we switched to rock shoes for two pitches of 5.9—with the altitude, heavy packs, and high-altitude boots dangling from our harnesses, this felt quite difficult. After a few moderate mixed pitches, we ran out of daylight and chopped a snow ledge for a cold bivy at 5,700m.

On the second day we climbed the crest of the ridge, again up to about 5.9 and M5. The last step in the ridge looked difficult and time-consuming, so we traversed to the right side of the crest across an icefield and gained the summit at last light via a steep arête of rotten snow.

We rappelled the west face in the dark, entirely by V-threads, and thus reached the glacial basin below the north face of the Ogre. We climbed back through the Ogre-Kabata col and spent the rest of the night stumbling back to our base camp lower on the Choktoi. The Turgeon-Haley South Ridge (1,200m, V 5.9 M5).

— Colin Haley

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