American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Charakusa Valley, Kapura Peak, South Summit (ca 6,200m), Wild Wings

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

Kapura Peak, south summit (ca 6,200m), Wild Wings. In 1999 on the summit of Amin Brakk, after the first ascent of the west face, I looked over the vast mountain range stretching between K6 and Masherbrum and later sought the name of a mountain that had aroused my interest, reminding me of the north face of an overgrown Grandes Jorasses. It was Kapura Peak (6,544m), first climbed by an American-Slovenian expedition in 2004. It took nine long years before I could get to the Charakusa Valley and attempt Kapura. Jan Doudlebsky and I reached base camp below K7 on July 7. After acclimatizing, there was nothing left for us but to find the right approach through the glacier and begin the climb.

After a period of changeable weather with occasional snow, on July 13 we initiated our climb of the huge northwest-facing dihedral on the right side of the west face. After a snowy ramp, we reached the first rock step, totally bare of ice. This unpleasant section led to a rocky corner with an inconsistent layer of ice. At the end of the day we dug a tiny bivouac platform below a large rock barrier.

It began snowing in the morning on July 14.

We climbed around the barrier on the left to approach an icefield. As the snowfall continued, powder avalanches became more frequent. We kept pushing to the end of the icefield, where we established a bivy that was even worse than the first one, hanging in harnesses instead of sitting. We were soaked and started to freeze.

On July 15 the sky cleared, and we had a spectacular view of the eastern Karakoram. We continued via a narrow chimney. Mixed climbing prevailed, with some vertical steps of hard ice. The final moves went through a loose, snow-capped overhang. At the col, we climbed the ridge to reach the south summit of Kapura (ca 6,200m) at 12:30 p.m. Without delay we turned around and started to rappel. When the sun reached the wall, the snow turned into a river, but we reached our tent on the glacier at 8 p.m., and the following day reached base camp. We called our route Wild Wings (1,300m, WI5+ M7 70°).

Marek Holecek, Czech Republic

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