Asia, Pakistan, Karakoram, Ghujerab Mountains, First Koksil Glacier, Peaks 5,636m, 5,609m, and 5,626m

Publication Year: 2012.

First Koksil Glacier, Peaks 5,636m, 5,609m, and 5,626m. From August 8 to 19 Frank Gasser, from Italy, and Katarzyna Karwecka-Wielicka, Krzysztof Wielicki, and I, from Poland, explored the Koksil (Kuksel or Kuksil) Valley.

The first expedition here took place in 1925. A small team from Holland led by Philip Visser (and including his wife Jenny Visser-Hooft) crossed the Chapchingal Pass and headed south through the Ghujerab Valley to Shimshal. This trail (with certain modifications) is currently recommended as a trekking route by the Lonely Planet Guide. In 2000 Pakistani guide Karim Hayat made the first exploration of one of the Koksil side valleys, named on Jerzy Wala’s 2011 sketch map [available at the AAJ website] as Third Koksil Glacier, where he made the first ascent of Jacky Chhish (5,717m, Koksil VI)). He also visited the Fourth Koksil Glacier and with two friends, Faizi Avan and Safda Karim, climbed two peaks of 5,720m. In 2003 Bernard Vaucher (France) and a Pakistani friend, Ishaq Ali, repeated Jacky Chhish (5,717m) from the Third Koksil Glacier. It has been climbed again by Karim Hayat, who has taken several Austrian trekking groups to the area. In 2011 Hayat organized both ours and the Austrian expedition [see below].

When we established base camp at 4,650m, at the entrance to the Third Koksil Glacier, the Austrians had climbed Koksil Sar I twice. On the 12th, after the Austrians departed, we went up to our high camp at 5,235m to attempt Koksil Sar II the following day. But the weather turned bad, with heavy snowfall, so we retreated and left to explore the First and Second Koksil Glaciers.

With the help of porters, we placed an advanced camp five hours above base camp, at 4,750m on the First Koksil Glacier. It snowed all next day but stopped at midnight, allowing Gasser and the Wielickis to traverse three 5,000+m summits to the southeast of camp on the ridge forming the Pakistan-China border. They first reached Peak 5,636m and continued north over 5,609m to 5,626m. They reversed their route, continuing south to the West Yahwash Col (5,426m), before descending west to the glacier. We were most likely the first team to visit the First Koksil Glacier (Shop Dur Glacier), at the head of which stands highly attractive Yawash Sar I (6,258m) and to its west unnamed Peak 6,072m, both unclimbed.

Janusz Majer, Poland