Pakistan 2018: Kiris Peak and a yesteryear mountaineering adventure. By Maurizio Giordani
Italian alpinist Maurizio Giordani reports about his climbing expedition to Pakistan during which, with Massimo Faletti, he completed a stylish ascent of Water World, a beautiful and difficult big wall up the hitherto unclimbed Kiris Peak (5428m). The other expedition members included Manrico Dell’Agnola, Antonella Giacomin, Cristiano Marinello, Andrea Peron, Nancy Paoletto, Giorgio Zeni, Luisa Boscheri, Andrea Marchel and Nadia Pezzi.
Goro Valley. Nancy and I have been at base camp for a few days now when the five new members of our expedition finally arrive, raring to go. Their daring approach journey along the Karakorum Highway, which lasted twenty-five times longer than our comfortable one-hour flight, had provided them with a taste of the unexpected, so commonplace in these lands. I have already studied the face on Kiris Peak and with Nancy we have already ascended a simple 4900m summit opposite, which we baptise "Besenello Peak”. Our friends need to acclimatise so I suggest a quick raid to the highest peak in the valley, Snow Peak, as we baptise this 5500m summit reached after an 8 hour trudge, first across moraine and then up snow. The three best acclimatised are Nancy, Massimo and I. All the mountains in this vast area are "untouched" by mountaineers and I revel in the joy of placing crampons, mountaineering boots or climbing shoes where no human being has ever stepped before.
The weather improved some days ago and it seems like it’s going to hold out. It's time to touch rock. Five of us climb (the women watch from below) the first two pitches and this helps me gain a precise idea of what lies in store. We’re faced by a real Big Wall, over 700 meters high. And are greeted by hard polished granite, vertical, compact, extremely difficult to climb. We foresee the unforeseen... waterfalls are everywhere. The snow up high, on the summit, and the heat of the sun, so strong at midday, result in water melting worryingly fast immediately after dawn (the wall is exposed NE and receives the sun until shortly after noon). As the minutes turn into hours the drips transform into a veritable waterfalls tumbling down every crack, corner and exposed rock face.
The line of ascent is identified, the most logical and feasible, following a sheltered line of passable rock formations below large overhangs, but the top remains a huge question mark…. as does the bottom. A "rest day" is obligatory before the decisive attempt, then Massimo, Manrico and I set off before dawn, to try and climb as high as possible.
We have some ropes for fixing the lower section where there are no comfortable bivouacs, and we certainly don’t lack Friends, pegs and bolts to be used in necessary. Another day is spent trying to breach some vertical sections before descending to the base and bivouacking in our tent on the glacier.
The following morning Manrico complains about a headach due to lack of acclimatisation; at the point the weather has been stable for a week... we can’t push our luck too fare and simply hope that the weather will hold out. We have to take advantage of this chance we’ve been given. So Massimo and I set off, intent on pushing all the way to the summit, and after two bivouacs needed to get through the most challenging sections, after a well-hedged bet along the traverse, some mixed pitches, just as many pitches through steep snow up to 60°, we reach the summit. Altitude 5428 meters. The difficulties we’d breached to get here... plenty and by no means easy, via the 1000m+ route.
The twin summit has two identical peaks just a hundred meters from each other, and the panorama from up there is a unique and unrepeatable. Thanks to the clear skies on our perfect summit day we enjoy breathtaking views across Nanga Parbat, K2, Broad Peak, Masherbrum, K6, K7 and hundreds of other nameless peaks, as yet without a mountaineering history, all possible small, big targets for this who, like us, wish to experience true, genuine adventures among these high mountains. For the most part still unexplored.
di Maurizio Giordani
Thanks to: Karpos, SCARPA, Climbing Technology
This is an extact of the complete trip report, available in Italian here