Showing posts from July, 2006

First Ascent of Haigutum East

26/07/06: Day one
I slept through my alarm which sounded at 1am but was woken soon after by an avalanche somewhere on the slopes above our bivi sight. Not sure if it had been a dream I rose, packed my sack and had breakfast. Our bowls were still lined with grease leftover from the fatty Chinese noodles from last night having been unable to scrub it off. We ate our porridge with few complaints however. Within minutes of donning my crampons my newly installed front points clumsily struck their first target of the day in the form of my only platypus water bottle putting a big splice in its side. Fortunately Peter, my climbing partner, had two one litre water bottles, one of which he kindly leant me.

We had bivi’ed at the bottom of the glacier descending from the unclimbed peak of Haigutum East that we were to attempt. The mountain forms part of the stunning Bal Chhish peaks on the southern side of the Hispar Glacier. Our route to the high bivi, which we had identified from our base camp…

Rocked by Shimshal Whitehorn

The morning started in the worst fashion! Both Ben and Peter failed to hear their alarms sound at midnight and it was not until I happened to look at my watch at 12.45 that we rose. We ate and packed quickly however, and were soon climbing towards the ‘couloir of 1000 gutters’, nicknamed by the previous French expedition because of the constant rock fall that hurtled down the couloir’s numerous runnels. Despite the late start I was feeling fresh having retired to my bivi bag before sunset. We had bivied at approximately 4600m on a patch of glacier beneath the north face of Shimshal Whitehorn where we figured we would be safe from any rocks or avalanches hitting us in the night. We initially made good progress towards the couloir however more delays were soon to arise. Ben who was leading the way at a good pace dropped his pack close to the bergschrund and started sifting through its contents. 'Shit, I’ve left my bivi bag behind!' he confessed. I sat on my pack beside Peter say…