Kiwi Climbers Make First Ascent In Afghanistan


New Zealand climbers Pat Deavoll and Maryrose Fowlie have made a first ascent in a remote region of Afghanistan. The duo traveled to the Wakhan Corridor in late July where they are believed to have become the first to climb a peak called Koh-e-Rant, located near the Upper Qala Panja Glacier.

While details are a bit thin, Pat shared the news with the Alpinist last week and they posted the story online yesterday. The original intention was for Pat and her usual climbing partner Paul Knott to climb a peak called Rohazon Zom, but at the last minute Paul had to pull out. Maryrose stepped in however, joining the team that also consisted of Bill Byrch.

The three climbers spent eight days on the Qala Panja icefall which required a lot of “hard work” according to Pat. Eventually they topped out on August 2nd and they judged the altitude of Koh-e-Rant to be between 5850 meters (19,193 ft) and 6050 meters (19,849 ft). GPS and altimeter readings varied greatly apparently. There doesn’t appear to be any records of previous ascents and Pat says they are the first climbing team to visit this particular region since a French squad back in 1968.

The trip home wasn’t without challenges either. A border dispute between Afghanistan and Tajikistan had the checkpoints closed down and it required a few extra days of patience and persistence to get across. When they left, the dispute still hadn’t been resolved but the Kiwi ladies, along with a number of other travelers were able to convince officials to let them pass.

A little extra adventure never hurt anyone, right?

Kraig Becker