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Noshaq (7,429m)

From 2007-2010 there were four ascents of Noshaq, the highest mountain in Afghanistan and second highest in the Hindu Kush. In the autumn of 2007 Iranians Mehdi Amidi and Azim Qeychi-Saz became only the second group of climbers to reach the summit in nearly 30 years. In 2003, Carlo Alberto Pinelli, gained official permission to visit the Wakhan Corridor with his expedition ‘Oxus, Mountains for Peace in Afghanistan’. His team successfully made the first ascent of Noshaq for 25 years, though they had deal with unexpected objective danger in the approach valley, which they discovered had been planted three years previously with over 600 antipersonnel mines (AAJ 2004).

In mid-July 2009 Amruddin and Malang, Afghans from the Wakhan who had trained in Chamonix, reached the summit with French guides Jean Annequin and Simon Destombes. In 2010 there were two ascents. James Bingham (UK), Bill Lyden (US), and Mark Wynne (UK) reached the summit on July 21 from a high camp at 7,100m. On August 29 it was the turn of Iranians Husain Asghari, Amin Moein, Gholam Nodehi, Mohammad Rafiei, H.Reza Sanjari, and Iraj Taheri, who topped out just 17 days after arrival at base camp. All climbed via the “standard” west ridge.

In 1978 a coup d’etat and the Soviet invasion the following year put the Hindu Kush off-limits. Otherwise, Noshaq’s west ridge would probably be one of the world’s most popular objectives for commercially organized expeditions attempting a high but technically moderate ascent. If access to this region (via Tajikistan) continues to be relatively straightforward and safe, the mountain could see a strong resurgence in popularity.