Few climbing expeditions visited the Wakhan Corridor during the summer, and all were affected by hostilities. Surprisingly, the hostilities in question were not those in Afghanistan, but in Tajikistan, through which most climbers must enter and exit the mountains. Fighting broke out in Khorog while the teams were climbing, and the resultant closure of the Afghan-Tajik border led to difficulties for several expeditions in leaving the country, as recounted in the online versions of these reports.
No parties went to Noshaq (7,492m) in 2012, but there was a successful and previously unreported ascent in late summer 2011 by Russian climbers, who were the first mountaineers from any of the CIS nations to summit Afghanistan’s highest peak. The team wanted to climb alpine-style, so first acclimatized by climbing Pik Mayakovsky (Qullai Mayakovskiy, 6,096m) in the southwest corner of the Tajikistan Pamir, following the normal route up the south face (AAJ 2012). Denis Apraksin, Yuri Bakhmurov, and Dmitry Siskin then attempted Noshaq’s west ridge in alpine-style. Bakhmurov stopped at 7,200m, but the other two continued to the main summit. Acclimatizing on the Tajikistan peaks, close to Khorog, before attempting some of the high peaks further south, may be a useful consideration for those wishing to minimize their stay in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.
Lindsay Griffin, Mountain INFO, and Malgorzata Skowronska, Poland/U.K.