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Hansjörg Auer on the summit of Lupghar Sar West at 11:30 on 07/07/2018 after having climbed the virgin West Face
Photo by Hansjörg Auer,
The corniced summit ridge of Lupghar Sar West, climbed solo by Hansjörg Auer on 07/07/2018
Photo by Hansjörg Auer,
Hansjörg Auerand his cook celebrating after having made the solo first ascent of the West Face of Lupghar Sar West, Karakorum, Pakistan
Photo by Hansjörg Auer,
Sunrise directly above Lupghar Sar, the 7181 m peak in the Karakorum, in Pakistan climbed solo by Hansjörg Auer
Photo by Hansjörg Auer

Hansjörg Auer, Lupghar Sar West solo ascent details

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The first details from Hansjörg Auer about his solo first ascent of the West Face of Lupghar Sar West in the Karakorum, Pakistan.

Hansjörg Auer has provided preliminary information about his solitary first ascent of the West face of the Lupghar Sar West. As reported, the 34-year-old mountaineer from Austria’s Ötztal had traveled to the 7157m peak in Pakistan’s Karakorum range in mid-June, accompanied by only some porters and a cook. Auer travelled to the Baltbar glacier knowing almost nothing about this reclusive mountain, apart from the fact that it had been first ascended in 1979 by a German expedition led by Hans Gloggner and attempted extremely rarely by only a handful of other expeditions. After establishing base camp at circa 4500m he immediately began the acclimatisation phase, climbing up to 6000 meters along the SW Ridge of La Rochele and savouring "a first taste of what it means while being alone in higher altitude."

He returned to base camp, checked out the approach to the hitherto unclimbed West Face and after only a few days of bad weather a short weather window was forecast. Auer departed on 6 July and in 7 and a half hours climbed from base camp to a good bivy spot right below the wall at about 6200 meters. The next morning he set off at 5:00 am and, climbing a line on the left side of the face, he reached the steep NW Ridge. He followed this past some very loose rock at first all the way to the summit which he reached at 11:30 am on 7 July.

"I took my bivy gear to the ridge in case bad weather arrived" explained Auer, "but then I decided to push myself up to the highest point. The last 200 meters of elevation gain offered some mixed climbing, not too difficult but still spicy enough at around 7000m and solo. Also I had to break a trail through some deep snow that led up to the summit cornice, this was maybe a bit at the limit due to the fact that I was ascending up the lee side of the mountain. But I never really felt out of my comfort zone."

After having collected a small stone as a summit souvenir, Auer immediately began the descent that proved anything but easy. "The way down was a bit of a fight because I felt very tired and the weather changed. I just kept on going until I reached base camp at around 8 pm the same day. I decided to downclimb everything because I only had a 5mm, 60m rope and it seemed to me that I’d be faster down climbing rather than searching for belays and making Abalakovs on the sections with blue ice. There were a few occasions when wished I could abseil, but in the end it all turned out OK."

As Auer told planetmountain.com before leaving for Islamabad, regardless of a successful summit he considered the entire solo expedition "the next step" in his mountaineering activity. Now he has confirmed just this: "This ascent is very unique to me, because I was dreaming of it for the last four years. Since Kunyang Chhish East in 2013 I wanted to know how it feels to be alone at altitude. And I’m happy that I made this experience now. I would like to dedicate the ascent to my late friend Gerhard Fiegl."

Link: FB Hansjörg AuerInstagram Hansjörg Auer,  www.hansjoerg-auer.atLa SportivaThe North FaceIntermatica

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