American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Muzkol Range, Peak Buffy, Peak 6,123m Attempt

Tajikistan, Pamir

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Rebecca Coles and Simon Verspeak
  • Climb Year: 2014
  • Publication Year: 2015

Our four-person team—Rebecca Coles, Rhys Huws, Simon Verspeak, and John Vincent (all U.K.)— traveled to the Muzkol area in early August with our primary objective being the unnamed and unclimbed ca 6,123m peak to the west of Dvuglavy (6,148m). Coles had attempted this peak in 2011.

We approached up the Muzkol River, placing base camp at 4,300m. To acclimatize, we slowly moved up a side valley to the southwest to establish a high camp at 5,200m below a col. With an early start, we crossed the ca 5,500m col and traversed below Peak 6,123m to reach the west ridge. We split into two teams and followed different lines to the ridge, but all of us retreated from about 5,900m because of very poor rock and lack of snow. (The snow line in this area was 5,300m on the north faces, while the south faces barely had any snow.) Coles and Verspeak then spent several days exploring another valley but found that glacial retreat had made their objectives unfeasible. Meanwhile, Huws and Vincent made two attempts, succeeding on the second, on a ca 5,500m peak opposite base camp. After hours of scree trudging, the two climbed snow up to 50° on the northwest face to reach the summit, which they have named Peak Buffy, in memory of a friend.

[Editor’s note: The high, arid Muzkol Range saw exploration in the Soviet era, and again during the late 1990s by Andrew Wielochowski’s commercial EWP expeditions. These teams picked off the major summits, including Dvuglavy. Peak 6,123m is perhaps the last unclimbed 6,000er in the group.

Download a more complete expedition report.

– Information from Rebecca Coles and Simon Verspeak

This AAJ article has been reformatted into HTML. Please contact us if you spot an error.

Photos and Topos Click photo to view full size and see caption