Turgeon Solos Unclimbed Peak in Pakistan

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Maxime Turgeon soloed the first ascent of Farol East, with one bivouac enroute. Courtesy of Maxime Turgeon.

Canadian Maxime Turgeon, whose partner was injured during an acclimatization climb, forged ahead all alone on Farol East, making the first ascent of the 6,350-meter peak in the Charakusa Valley of Pakistan. Turgeon had hoped to climb a new route on 7,281-meter K6, but his partner, Louis-Philippe Ménard, had badly hurt his ankle in a fall.

With Ménard headed home, Turgeon decided to attempt a narrow ice line on the southwest side of Farol East. After a bivy at the base of the wall, Turgeon climbed to the summit ridge, where the afternoon heat forced him to bivouac because of dangerous snow conditions. Starting early the next day, he was on top by noon—the highest summit he has yet climbed. Turgeon then descended more than 1,300 meters from the summit with only a 50-meter 6mm rope for rappels. “At 9 p.m., soaking wet due to an extended session of canyoning and with barely half of the [rope] left, so frozen it could stand up by itself, I was back to the security of my tent,” Turgeon wrote in an email.

Turgeon on the summit of Farol East at around 6,350 meters (20,833 feet), the highest peak he has reached yet. Courtesy of Maxime Turgeon.

Turgeon stayed at base camp for another two weeks, but poor weather prevented any more climbs. Turgeon is best known for his climbs in Alaska, where he has climbed new routes or variations on Bradley, Denali, and Foraker.

Dates of Ascents: September 12-13, 2007; September 17, 2007

Source: Maxime Turgeon

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