American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Fifth Koksil Glacier, Chapchingol Sar and Other Peaks

Pakistan, Karakoram, Ghujerab Mountains

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Author: Irena Mrak
  • Climb Year: 2018
  • Publication Year: 2019

Tomaž Goslar, Mojca Švajger, and I arrived in Pakistan on July 10 with the aim of climbing a high peak in the Hindu Kush. However, due to security issues on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, our permit was denied and we had to focus quickly on another area, below 6,500m, where a climbing permit is not required. We decided to go to the Koksil Valley, south of and close to the Karakoram Highway. This valley lies within Khunjerab National Park and therefore we had to wait three days for an entry permit.

On the 25th we reached base camp at around 4,190m (36°46'47.3"N, 75°20'43"E), close to shepherds' huts in the main Koksil Valley, below the Fourth Koksil Glacier. The weather was bad for the next eight days, but we used the few dry hours to explore.

On August 1 we set up an advanced base on the Fifth Koksil Glacier at 5,100m, southwest of the main valley. Over the next few days we climbed the three highest peaks in the cirque. On August 2 we climbed Peak 5,802m (GPS measurement; ca 5,800m on Jerzy Wala's Koksil Valley sketch map; 36°46'35.5"N, 75°17'50.4"E) via the south-southwest face. The next day we climbed Peak 5,809m (5,760m on the Wala map; 36°45'40"N, 75°17'20.9E") via an east to west traverse, and on the 4th we climbed Chapchingol Sar (6,103m; 6,082m on the Wala map; 36°46'07.8"N, 75°16'29.3"E) via the southeast face and northeast ridge. [The name Chapchingol Sar has been attributed to this peak for some time and appears on the Japanese Miyamori maps published in 2001. However, Google Earth and Gunter Seyfferth (himalaya-info.org) mark Chapchingal Sar I more than 10km to the southwest, on the south side of the upper Chapchingol Valley. This other summit is more frequently referred to as Sonia Peak and is the highest in the immediate area (6,265m according to Seyfferth, but as high as 6,400m from other sources). It has been climbed a number of times since its first ascent in the early 1990s.]

On the 5th we descended to base camp. Two days later we explored the Fourth Koksil Glacier, where we made the first ascent of a peak of around 5,500m (36°44'56.32"N, 75°19'39.48"E) on the western rim. The only previous ascent from this glacier basin appears to be Peak 5,830m GPS (5,720m on the Wala map), on the eastern rim at 36°44'35.91"N, 75°20'53.99"E (see AAJ 2014). By August 9 the weather was bad again and we left the area.

The glacier basins we visited have potential for further exploration and the first ascents of more peaks. While these may be not particularly high, they are beautiful and demanding in their own way, because of the remote situation.

– Irena Mrak, Slovenia 

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