Back to civilization: rocks climbed, emergency shelters built.

SANY0319Hello everyone!  After several weeks of great adventures, Clint and I have made it back to Skardu in northeastern Pakistan.  We spent our first week out building emergency shelters in the villages of Hushe and Kande.  We found the locals very excited to learn these impromptu building techniques and very willing to lend a hand filling and tossing sandbags.   The kids were especially enthusiastic!  We completed two shelters and stockpiled materials for one further  shelter in the village of Hushe.  A local group of concerned citizens works with an American researcher to take winter snow leopard photography.  They have hauled the building materials to the “top-side”, the summer yak pastures, and should have the shelter complete in a month, as soon as the demands of harvest are over.

SANY0311After waiting a week, the army officially refused to let us enter the Kondus Valley, even though the Ministry of Tourism had issues us a Special Permit.  So we redesigned our climbing adventure and headed up the Nangmah Valley where we knew there was good climbing, but maybe not as much first ascent potential.  We had been having a bit of weather and woke up to 1″ of new snow in basecamp our first morning there.  Luckily the weather improved and the temps would increase slightly.   First we had our sights set on a wild aid line on Green Tower, but the shady north face with it’s cold and fully vegetated cracks turned us away.  We set our sights on the sunny south ridge of Denbor Brakk.

SANY0409Over two days we managed to climb about 2000 feet of the south ridgeline to the south tower.  Most of the route was wide crack climbing so the giant cams and Big Bros proved essential.  The final steep offwidth on the tower headwall was airy and vomit-inducing!

After several rest days we tried the south face of Brakk Zang.  What do you know, but more wide cracks!  We found bolted belays for several pitches.  Then all evidence of prior passage disappeared and we pushed our high point several pitched higher up the face before bailing in a snow storm.  We estimate we climbed 1200 ft to only halfway up the face.  This will someday be a long climb!

SANY0567Our time in basecamp was coming to a close so we spent the last few days cragging around camp then headed out so our great cook Karim could hang with his family for the big party at the end of Ramadan.    Now we have made it back to Skardu and will be working our way back to Islamabad overland by way of the Deosai Plains.  I have to jump in a jeep soon, so look for another installment in a few days…

Leave a Reply

Alpine Edge Engineering, LLC
Matthew D. Hepp, P.E.
605 River Park Drive
Ridgway, Colorado
(970) 318-1469
Share |