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TRANGO TOWERS GROUP
Posted on: March 1, 2005
Miha Valic in search of the key to the first ascent of the Trango Monk, a solitary crack/dihedral system in the summit tower. Valic and Jakofcic established the route Chota Badla (5.10 A2 70°, 450m) in a two-day alpine-style push. The pair also climbed Great Trango Tower, established two new rock climbs in the area and accomplished the first alpine-style ascent of Eternal Flame on Nameless Tower during their trip. (Antoine and Sandrine de Choudens, who we reported as having made an alpine-style ascent of the route in Issue 5, stopped 120 meters from the true summit.) [Photo] Tomaz Jakofcic
From August 2-September 28, Klemen Mali, Miha Valic and I climbed in the Trango group. Our main target was the southwest ridge of Great Trango Tower, but a few days before our departure, we got the news that Josh Wharton and Kelly Cordes had climbed it. We were a little disappointed but not too sad because there are a lot of good mountains in the area.
Five days after we arrived, Miha and I climbed Great Trango Tower (6238m) via the Woolums-Selters Route. During the two weeks of unstable weather that followed, we climbed the route Sadu (5.10+ A1, 350m) on a rock pillar near camp. We thought we were climbing a new route until I recognized the landscape from a picture in a French climbing magazine.
On September 3 the weather started improving, and we climbed a new peak, Garda Peak (4700m), half an hour from base camp. We christened the route Karakoram Khush (Karakoram Pleasure, 5.10 A0, 300m). The next day we climbed another new route, Piyar, Piyar (Love, Love: 5.10+ A0, 350m), left of Sadu. As with Sadu, Piyar, Piyar was quite hard because of sandy rock and cracks filled with mud and grass.
After one rest day we started from base camp early in the morning. Following four hours of an unpleasant scree gully, we reached the north col of Nameless Tower and started climbing the east face of the virgin Trango Monk. There was a lot of snow and ice in the lower part, so the climbing went rather slowly. We bivied on a good ledge on the south face and before nightfall fixed our two ropes up to the obvious shoulder below the summit tower. The next day we found the only crack in the summit tower and at noon reached the sharp summit. We descended to base camp in the afternoon. We named our route Chota Badla (5.10 A2 70 degrees, 450m), which means Small Revenge. It is dedicated to our friend Josh Wharton, who "stole" "our" southwest ridge of Great Trango, and who had tried Trango Monk three times.
Miha's time was running out, so after a day off, we went to the south col of Nameless Tower and in three days made the first alpine-style ascent of Eternal Flame (VI 5.11- A2, 1000m, Albert-Gullich-Stiegler, 1989). We bivied on the shoulder and again on the ledge after Pitch 23. We chose this slower but more certain tactic since many alpine-style attempts had ended short of the summit because of lack of time. Reaching the summit on such routes and mountains is important because the top is the only exact conclusion to the climb. We arrived at the summit on September 11 at 1 p.m., and after five hours of rappelling and sliding down the couloir, regained base camp. We had climbed the route on our first try.
— Tomaz Jakofcic, Ljubljana, Slovenia