Showing posts from June, 2006

A New Route on Yazghil Sar (5964m)

Back in Pakistan
I was going back to Shimshal, the remote mountain village in the Northern Areas of Pakistan, home to an amazing twenty villagers (at last count) who have summited an 8000m peak. It was only twelve months since I had first visited the village but I had seen enough to prompt a quick return. Our main goal was to climb the beautiful Shimshal Whitehorn, whose intimidating north face rises above the village. The first objective however was Yazghil Sar, which was intended to use for acclimatisation. The previous year I had seen this peak on route to the Shimshal Pamir and it struck me as being ideally suited for acclimatisation due to its easy gradient and minimal objective dangers.

The expedition consisted of Peter Thompson and me (Lee Harrison), who were in Pakistan for the duration of the summer of 2006, along with Greg Nunn and Ben Cheek who were in Pakistan for the first month to be spent in Shimshal. Greg is a fellow climbing club member at Salford University.

We had …

Benighted on Mont Blanc du Tacul

I had slept badly. It was my first night at altitude and I had a headache. Neither of us had an alarm which meant I was constantly checking my watch throughout the night in paranoia of oversleeping. My water bottle, which I was using as a pillow, also leaked shortly after midnight wetting my sleeping bag and my gloves. All-in-all it had not been a great night for me.

We were camped beneath the northwest face of Mont Blanc du Tacal in anticipation of climbing the 55° steep, 600m long Jager couloir. We did not rise until 5am and were slow preparing. Luckily my gloves had dried else I may have declined to climb today for fear of my fingers, which have poor circulation following a frostbite injury, being poorly insulated from the conditions.

The sun had long since risen by the time we were at the bottom of the couloir. It was a beautiful morning with barely a cloud in the sky and we were looking forward to bagging our first Alpine route of the summer. Both of us were confident to move tog…