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Venus Peak (6,279m), Southeast Ridge

In June and July Daniele Bernasconi, Mario Panzeri, and I traveled to the Shaksgam Valley to attempt an alpine-style ascent of Gasherbrum I. Unfortunately, due to the inefficiency of the agency that organized our logistics, it took 45 days to reach base camp. We then had only seven days before returning home, not enough time to make an attempt. However, during the approach we made the first ascent of the 6,279m peak [Polish 1:80,000 Satellite Map] north of the entrance to the South Skyang Lungpa Glacier, which flows east to the Shaksgam River.

It was a beautiful but difficult adventure. We climbed the southeast ridge on July 10-11. It comprised numerous rock towers, with demanding mixed pitches, cornices, and sections of deep, dangerous snow. However, there was a fantastic panorama of the Gasherbrums, Broad Peak, and K2. The elevation gain was 2,150m; we climbed the upper 800m from our bivouac in eight hours, then descended a different route to avoid a second bivouac on the mountain. The grade was ED, and we named the peak Venus, after the planet that shone brightly each morning above the summit.

Hervé Barmasse, Italy