Skyang Kangri

Skyang Kangri Trip Report (#18520)

  • Signed By: Jo Heersink
  • Date submitted: September 14, 2003

Hello I am Johan, in my daily life I work as an expedition manager for ALPEX High Alpine Expeditions. Januari and Februari 2004 I will have my holiday. But as I am pretty freakish were climbing is concerned and anyway I have to keep up shape for the long season to come, starting may, I had planned to do some serious climbing in this period as wel, but this time private. Let me explain you a little first. Earlier this year I was leading the K2 North face expedition for ALPEX, - The team failed to make the summit, but as it was a lightweight alpine style attempt, using no porters, no fixed ropes etc., we were not so surprised, neither to dissapointed by that fact -. In the dying days of the venture all members went out to do some things for their own, and several 6000+ peaks, mainly in Hill Yulin range, saw their first ascents and for the first time a complete circumnavigation of the Hill Qogori range was performed. I choose to make a venture into an unexplored Eastern side glacier of the main Qogir, (K2) glacier and try to perform the first ascent of Beifeng Peak, 7132 meter, by way of its North wall. On the map Beifeng looked accessible enough to give it a go in a solo attempt. Unfortunately the map was wrong! Already the approach over Dong Qogir glacier proved to be gruelling, and once the Beifeng North wall was reached it was pretty clear that this was impossible to solo, especially given the 7 days only I had from K2 base camp and back to there. Beifeng proved to have an unbroken steep, 60-85 degrees, mixed rock and ice face, barred in its lower parts by a huge icefall and hanging glaciers. To add injury to insult, in its upper part their are huge bands of very steep rillen terrain. As we had had plenty of new snow just before, the whole thing was also avalanching as mad. So far for Beifeng this year. At the head of the Dong Qogir glacier is two summit Skyang Kangri Peak, with 7545 meter one of the highest unclimbed peaks left on the globe. On the map this one had looked more inaccessible than Beifeng, and for most of its Northern routes it is, asking for a full scale, full period major expedition. But more detailed study learned that by an elaborate way, going up one of its side peaks and traversing it for 210 degrees, and than crossing the whole middle section of Skyang itself, it would not be fully impossible to solo, especially for somebody who has the rare favoring for steep, deep snow terrain. So I tried, and actually managed my way into the main Northwest wall of Skyang. But insufficient time, exhaustion of the long K2 expedition, loss of signicicant material and supplies due to the pressurewave of a large avalanche and last but not least a serious break in the weather, forced me back after reaching a high point of 6470 meters. However I had instantly fallen in love with Skyang and promised myself I would be back some day to settle the accounts. In the time since I have worked out my plans to do so into detail, and with 11 instead of seven days from Base to Base I am convinced I can do it. Winter would be a much more favorable time, as in the area most precipation falls in spring and summer, causing significant avalanche danger, not to speak of difficulties crossing the many rivers on the long walk in to K2 base camp. Working for ALPEX company in Central Asia for many years, contacts are not my problem and I can get first ascent permits relatively cheap for as well Skyang Kangri as Beifeng peak. Material is also not a problem, our company has more than a ton in cache in Xinjiang, and in wintertime most of it is not in use. It remains that due to the high transport costs and other financial inconveniences of an expedition into the Northern Karakoram, the price is simply to high to do the thing totally on my own, (As the first ascent permit is almost as high as a normal permit for K2 and there is no difference in transport costs, one can imagine how expensive it is) Besides that it might, for safety reasons, not be to wise to embark on such a major event, 6 days walking from the nearest human settlement, completely alone. In order to share the costs and deal with other inconveniences I have thought out the following concept: If a two or three person team would be interested in joining for reason of doing the first ascent of Beifeng peak, we keep the expedition period relatively short and travel as lightweighted possible, the spreaded cost would be on an acceptable level for everybody present. So my question is: Would their be a 2 to 3 person, strong climbing team interested in the first ascent of Beifeng peak? Beifeng has no easy route anywhere, and it needs technically very accomplished climbers, nothing for the faint hearthed! Also a short expedition period would mean, that the thing has to be done in (semi) alpine style, - I was planning a total period of 35 days, considering the long drive/walk in that would leave 21 days for the climbing. When using the "Chinese" base camp site at the snout of Qogir glacier, the start of both climbs can be reached in one, long day. I am willing to do all the organisational work for the expedition over here in Xinjiang, and can provide all necessary general climbing gear, communication shit and so on in abundant quantities. The period I was planning is from Januari 20 to Februari 24, but I am able to shift my period between the extremes of januari 1 and March 20, (anyway I do not want to go any later as besides solo, I want my ascent of Skyang Kangri to be a genuine winter climb).

So if anybody would be interested in cooperating on a bald venture like this please contact me soon at jowolfheart@yahoo.com!

Johan, Urumqi China

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