Yawash Sar II, First Ascent and Ski Descent

Pakistan, Karakoram, Ghujerab Mountains, Khunjerab Group
Author: Jerzy Wala. Climb Year: 2021. Publication Year: 2022.

image_4In the spring, a Polish expedition traveled to far northern Pakistan to attempt unclimbed Yawash Sar II (6,176m), which had been attempted by Krzysztof Wielicki, solo, in the summer of 2019. The team trekked from Shimshal via Boesam Pass to a base camp at 4,400m in the Ghidims Valley, arriving on April 28. The following day, accompanied by two porters, they established Camp 1 at 5,160m, where the North Ghidims Glacier splits into left and right flows.

On the 30th, Jedrzej Baranowski and Andrzej Bargiel set off at around 4 a.m. with skis for the southwest face of Yawash Sar II. The weather was good; during the night the temperature fell to -15°C, while in the day it was hot in the sun. Spring snow and avalanche debris covered the crevasses, so on both the glacier approach and the face the pair was able to move unroped. They took a line slightly to the right of Wielicki’s attempt (AAJ 2020).

At about half-height Baranowski, less well acclimatized and moving slower than Bargiel, decided to wait while his partner continued. Bargiel, famed for the first ski descent of K2 (July 2018), traversed up and right, across the top of a large slab avalanche track, to reach a snow- covered rocky rib, then climbed steep snow on the left side of this rib to reach the last section of the south-southwest ridge. He followed this to the summit, arriving a little before 11 a.m. Warned by drone operator Jakub Gzela, he stopped just below the large capping cornice.

Bargiel donned skis and initially descended the west-northwest ridge. Due to the steepness, exposure, and a thin layer of snow over ice, he made at least one rappel from Abalakov anchors, then skied diagonally across the upper face to meet his ascent route. He reached Baranowski and the pair then skied to the bottom of the face and across to Camp 1. The same day they regained base camp. On May 1 they began their return to Shimshal and from there transferred to Skardu for the next phase of their expedition, a ski descent of Laila Peak (see report here).

— Jerzy Wala, translated by Monika Hartman, Poland

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