Link Sar (7041m): First Ascent of West Summit (6938m)

Jon Griffith and Andy Houseman return from Pakistan - happy, content and with a feeling of success. Although, they couldn’t make it to Main summit, Griffith and Andy are first to reach Link Sar West Summit (6938m). They didn’t follow the ridge from West to Main summit because of various reasons like illness, lack of food, deteriorating weather and potential danger. The duo climbed Northwest Face of mountain in five days, and spent another day coming down. The route of ascent majorly followed the line of Griffith and Kevin Mahoney’s attempt in 2014.
Andy Houseman near the top of the northwest face of Link Sar.  Photo: Jon Griffith,  Source

Link Sar is a 7041m unclimbed peak in rarely visited Charakusa Valley of Pakistan. The valley is considered “an alpine-climbing candy store” with many unclimbed peaks, sub-peaks and mountain faces. After reaching Base Camp and due acclimatization, As reported by Climbing.com, Jon Griffith and Andy Houseman launched summit push from BC on the night of July 12th. On day-1, they climbed to first bivouac site at 6100m. July 14th was spent in bivouac resting, recovering and allowing the mountain face to release fresh snow. On 15th, they climbed for 17 hours to reach the top of face. Unfortunately, Griffith was suffering from fever that evening and they decided to settle in second bivouac at 6800m.

July 16th was again a recovery day. On 17th, they crossed the ridge to reach West Summit (6938m) at around 1200hrs - approximately one kilometer away from Main Summit. The ridge connecting West with Main summit was extremely corniced and the team decided not to attempt it. However, the warmth of mid-day and Griffith’s fever delayed their descent till 3am next day. They bivouacked on West Summit. On July 18 they retreated to Base Camp via a couloir running down South face.
Line of ascent (in red) and Descent (in Green). Photo: Jon Griffith, Source

"I feel it was a success," Griffith told Dougald MacDonald of Climbing.com. "It was a shame not to head to the main summit, but we’d run out of food and weather window. We came off the hill just as the bad weather rolled in, and it's really not a mountain you want to come down in bad weather. It could easily turn to a very serious fight for survival that descent! I think if I hadn't been so ill we could have given it a good shot, but that's the luck of the game out there. We had a tight weather window, and we used it to the best we could."

It was Jon Griffith’s fourth attempt on the mountain while Andy’s second. In 2014, Kevin Mahoney and Jon Griffith were forced to retreat 300m below summit due to bad weather and dangerous conditions. They were half kilometer away from West Summit, then. In 2013, rain and bad weather affected Jon Griffith and Andy Houseman’s acclimatization, whereas final summit bid was cancelled due to Andy’s illness. Jon Griffith first visited Charakusa Valley in 2012. Together with Will Sim, he explored the mountains and attempted Link Sar without making significant progress due to dangerous amount of unconsolidated snow.
Jon Griffith and Andy Houseman at Base Camp during 2013 Expedition;  Photo: Jon Griffith, Source
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