Sunday, July 21, 2013

First Ascent of Khunyang Chhish East (7400m)

Amidst the shocking updates from Karakoram, yesterday arrived news about an ascent that may well be rated amongst the finest climbs of the year. Margaretha from the home team of the expedition, reported that Hansjorg, Matthias and Simon made it to the top of Kunyang Chhish East (7400m) on July 19th, 2013.

The 7400m Khunyang Chhish East is a sub peak in Kunyang Chhish massif, Hispar Muztagh, Karakoram. Main summit being 7852m is 21st highest independent peak in the world, and was first ascended by a Polish team led by Andrzej Zawada in 1971. But despite several attempts (there have been at least four registered attempts), the East peak remained unclimbed until now. In 2006, American duo Steve House and Vince Anderson had to turn back 300m short of the summit. "To the right was a massive cornice, to the left was steep and blank rock," wrote House, "with no real gear, bad rock, strong, cold winds, and tired bodies we turned around sometime between 2 and 3 p.m."

The 2400m Southwest face of Khunyang Chhish East has widely been regarded as, “one of the great remaining problems in alpinism” and “a major Karakoram problem”.

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Khunyang Chhish East; Source

On June 5th, two friends Austrian Hansjorg Auer and Swiss Simon Anthamatten left for Islamabad to negotiate the massive wall of Khunyang Chhish East. Due to a thumb injury, it was feared that Hansjorg’s brother Matthias Auer may not be part of expedition, but by the mid of June he was on the way to Islamabad. Like predecessors, they too acclimatized on Ice Cake Peak (6400m). In last week of June, Hansjorg and Simon made first attempt to climb the face, but abrupt change in weather forced them to retreat from 7000m. Matthias wasn’t fully acclimatized by then, to go for summit.

While details about ascent are not available, as of now, it appears that Hansjorg Auer, Matthias Auer and Simon Anthamatten have ‘solved’ one of the great Karakoram problems, on July 19, 2013.

EDIT: Read full expedition report by Hansjorg Auer, here.

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Hansjorg, Iqbal (a friend) and Simon in Islamabad. Source

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