American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Charakusa Valley, K7 West, Second Ascent; K7, Luna

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 2009

K7 West, second ascent; K7, Luna. In 2008 we six Slovenians traveled to the amazing Charakusa Valley above Hushe village with the goals of having as much fun as possible and climbing some good routes. We set up base camp on August 4 and began acclimatizing as soon as the weather allowed. Our first ascent was the British route on Naisa Brakk (5,200m), the easiest route on this spectacular pyramid. After a period of mostly bad weather, Luka Lindic, Rok Blagus, and I climbed Sulo Peak (ca 6,050m, according to GPS) via the southwest couloir. For acclimatization, we bivied just below the summit.

On August 20, after a few days of rest, Lindic, Blagus, and I started up the route on the southeast face of K7 West (6,858m) that was first climbed one year earlier by Marko Prezelj, Steve House, and Vince Anderson (2200m, ED 6c V). On the first day we climbed eight pitches of steep granite (around 6c) and found a comfortable bivouac on a snow plateau at 5,100m. The next day we climbed 1,300m of steep ice andsnow in mostly great condition; the only problem was finding a safe place for our small tent. The third day (August 22) we reached the summit in windy weather but with big smiles. It took a day of descending to reach base camp.

During the same period the other three climbers, Nejc Cesen, Rok Sisernik, and Miha Hrastelj, climbed a partial new route on the rock pillars of the south face of the K7 West massif. They named it Luna (1,400m, VII+/V A2). They had hoped to continue to the unclimbed subpeak (ca 6,200m) southwest of K7 West and had carried ice gear for the upper slopes, but they estimated the round trip and subsequent descent from their high point at ca 5,700m would require three more days. They had only one day of food, so they decided to descend. [Editor's note: Their high point was some distance to the south and ca 300m lower than the top of the Bel- gian-Polish route of 2007 on the west-facing Badal Wall (AAJ 2008, pp. 80-87).] The climb took three days, with an additional day (eight hours) for descent by rappel. All of the bivouacs were on narrow, uncomfortable ledges; a portaledge was not carried.

We had planned another two weeks of climbing, but two days after these ascents we received a message about the accident involving our friends Pavle Kozjek and Dejan Miskovic on Muztagh Tower, just 40km away. The next day Hrastelj, Sisernik, and I flew in army helicopters to help with the rescue, and our wonderful stay in K7 base camp was sadly over.

Ales Cesen, Slovenia

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