The 5561m (18,244 foot) mountain is located in the northeastern part of Afghanistan in the remote Wakhan Corridor, a 100 mile long, 40 mile wide, panhandle that links the country to China. The area is very isolated, with extremely rough, challenging terrain, and while it once served as a trade route, it is now seldom visited by the locals, let alone outsiders.
Climber Alan Halewood and his partner Neal Gwynne, made the arduous journey to the mountain via trains, planes, and automobiles. (of the four-wheel drive variety!) They also traveled by horseback and eventually on foot, trekking the final miles to Base Camp, and of course making the climb as well. The entire trip took three weeks to complete, in some of the worst weather the region has seen in years. Anyone who has been following the events in Pakistan, China, and Nepal, knows that the Monsoon brought incredibly bad conditions this year, with more rain, and flooding, than was expected. Afghanistan was not spared from those storms.
In the end, Halewood made the summit by himself, as Gwynne turned back earlier in the climb. The solo summit allowed the Brit to name the mountain, which he dubbed Koh-e-Iskander in honor of his two-year old son Sandy and Alexander the Great, who’s shadow still looms over the region.
Just how remote is this peak? Halewood says that it is located in a spot that is completely surrounded by other peaks, and that no inhabited valleys overlook the one he climbed. It is a very out of the way place, which is why the article says that not only may it not have been seen before by westerners, but possibly by no other humans ever. Now that is remote.
Very cool story about a couple of climbers on a big adventure. Trekking the Wakhan Corridor has been on my wish list for some time, and this only fuels my desire to visit that place. Really amazing.
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