While the summer climbing season in Pakistan has been a shadow of its former self, there have been a handful of expeditions taking place in recent weeks. For instance, a few weeks back we learned about an all-Pakistani team that is attempting the 7070-meter (23,195 ft) Rakhiot Peak, while also hearing rumblings of a few other teams making their way in country. Now, we receive word that a group of German climbers has completed the first ascent of a Pakistani peak, just as another squad arrives on the scene.
Thanks to Stephen Nestler’s Adventure Mountain blog, we’ve known that Felix Berg has been in Pakistan to climb in the Karakoram for awhile now. But this morning, ExWeb has provided an update on his team’s progress. Berg, along with Mirza Ali Baig, have guided three German clients to the summit of a 5770 meter (18,930 ft) peak in the Shimshal Valley. At the moment, the mountain doesn’t have a name, nor does a second one they hope to climb in the days ahead. The group are reportedly the only foreigners in the area and are maintaining a healthy distance from the locals by staying in their camp together.
Berg and company didn’t hold their status as the only foreign climbers in Pakistan for very long. Nestler is also reporting that a trio of Czech alpinists have made their way into the country as well, with ambitions of a first ascent of their own. Pavel Korinek, Pavel Bem and Jiri Janak have set their sights on the 7452 meter (24,449 ft) Muchu Chhish, a remote peak located in the Batura Muztagh area of the Karakoram. This mountain holds the distinction of being the second highest unclimbed peak on the planet, which means the Czech’s are taking this opportunity to perhaps make history. The last real attempt on Muchu Chhish took place six years ago, so it remains a good place to socially distance.
I suspect what we’re seeing in Pakistan is a preview of what we can expect in Nepal in the fall. With so much uncertainty surrounding the opening of Nepal’s borders, many commercial teams have cancelled their expeditions for the autumn. But, if the country does open on September 1 as the current plan states, I think we’l see a handful of independent expeditions arrive to take on some of the Himalayan peaks too. Considering we’re now just a few short weeks away from the traditional start of that season, it will be interesting to see if the Nepali government forges ahead with its plans to reopen.
Congrats to the Germans on their first ascent and good luck to the Czechs on their upcoming expedition too.