Hot Summer in Pakistan

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A lengthy American-Slovenian expedition to Pakistan this summer made a slew of first ascents and impressive attempts. Doug Chabot, Jeff Hollenbaugh, Steve House, Bruce Miller, Marko Prezelj, and Steve Swenson started in the Charakusa Valley, where they warmed up and acclimatized with several climbs on Nasser Brakk (18,000 feet), including a new route on the Southeast Ridge. Chabot, House, and Swenson then made the first ascent of Kapura Peak (21,500 feet), followed by Miller and Prezelj on the same route the next day. With a couple of other “warm-ups” in hand, the team turned its attention to 22,750-foot K7. At the end of July, House soloed a new route on the peak, making its second ascent. In the same period, Chabot and Miller repeated the Japanese route on K7 alpine-style, thus making the peak’s third ascent, while Hollenbaugh, Prezelj, and Swenson attempted the Northwest Ridge of unclimbed K7 West (22,500 feet). The K7 West trio turned back about 650 feet below the top in the face of dangerous snow conditions. At the beginning of August, Hollenbaugh and Prezelj returned home, and the rest of the team rested briefly and then moved to a new basecamp below the Rupal Face of 26,660-foot Nanga Parbat. From August 12 to August 18, Chabot and Swenson climbed the much-attempted Mazeno Ridge on Nanga Parbat, making the first ascent of this 8-mile-long ridge to its intersection with the Schell Route, but they descended without proceeding to the top because of fatigue and deteriorating weather. Meanwhile, House and Miller attempted a new route on the main Rupal Face, reaching around 24,600 feet before health problems forced them to traverse to the Messner Route and descend. When the rest of the group departed, House stayed in basecamp and made a solo attempt on the face, but he gave up below his previous high point and then followed his teammates home.