Asia, Pakistan, Baltoro Kangri

Publication Year: 1964.

Baltoro Kangri. Our objective was 23,990-foot Baltoro Kangri, formerly often called Golden Throne. Our party was composed of Professor Seihei Kato, leader; Dr. Hyoriki Watanabe, deputy leader; Sumio Shima, Keiko Fujimoto, Kiyoki Okada, Takeo Shibata, Shoji Seki, Masaru Kono, Matoo Yanagisawa, Naoyuki Morita, Yoshichika Takenouchi, Tokutaro Noguchi; and the Pakistani liaison officer, Captain M. Afsar Khan. Travel to Skardu in Baltistan was accomplished on June 16. Three days later, crossing the Indus River, we set out with more than 200 native porters. During the march along the Shigar River, unfortunately the leader had to go back to Skardu because of the deterioration of his arthritis. The party, led by the deputy leader, reached Askole after eight days, where it was forced to stay a few days because of the unexpected flood of the Braldo River and the damage to the rope bridge over the Dumordo valley. However, the march was continued along the Baltoro Glacier until the party reached Base Camp (17,000 feet) at the foot of the South Gasherbrum Glacier on July 12. Mountaineering activity started immediately. Although the establishment of the advanced camps required us to swim in deep snow and do acrobatic feats on the bottomless crevasses, we set up successively: Camp I, Upper Abruzzi Glacier (18,375 feet) July 16; Camp II, on the way to Conway saddle (19,675 feet) July 20; Camp III, above Conway saddle (21,325 feet) July 26; Camp IV, beneath ridge of eastern peak of Baltoro Kangri (22,800 feet) August 2. Native porters were used only up to Camp II; afterwards we carried all loads ourselves because we considered it more efficient to do so. Early on August 3, the two attack members, Shibata and Kono, left Camp IV, blessed with fine weather. Deep snow and a steep ice wall lay in ambush on their way to hinder their quick approach to the summit and forced them to bivouac on the main ridge of Baltoro Kangri. Next morning, after four hours of gasping struggle against the steep snow flank, they were at their goal. It was August 4. Another two climbers, Shima and Fujimoto, who started from Camp IV on the same morning followed the same route and stood on the summit 30 minutes after the first conquest. The party left Base Camp on August 12 and came back to Skardu on the 24th.

Seihei Kato, Tokyo University