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Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Baltoro Muztagh, Skyang Kangri, West Face Attempt

Skyang Kangri, west face attempt. The first attempt on the west face of Skyang Kangri (7,545m) was made in 1980 by Michael Kennedy and Jeff Lowe, who reached ca 6,600m. In July 2008 a Russian expedition made a second attempt. The team included Alexander Kuharev (doctor), climbers Vladimir Arkhipov, Evgeniy Beliaev, Sergey Cherezov, Igor Loginov,and Alexander Mikhailitsin, and me as leader.

We reached K2 base camp on June 17 and placed advanced base camp at 5,500m on the upper Godwin-Austen Glacier on June 19. After climbing to Skyang La (ca 6,500m) for acclimatization, the five climbers started on the route on July 3. Over five days, they pushed the line to the beginning of the headwall at 7,000m. On the night of July 7 there was a strong snowstorm, and they spent the night struggling against snow piling up on the tent. In the morning, two climbers felt sick, presenting the first signs of pneumonia. The team decided to descend, and by twilight they reached the foot of Skyang Kangri.

The part of the route we completed was mixed climbing on marble slabs covered with snow and thin ice. Protection was very bad. The headwall appeared to be 300m-500m of steep, crumbling marble with poor ice.

Nikolay Zakharov, Russia