K7 from the groups Mugs Stump Award application. The dotted line roughly shows the team’s line of ascent behind the large rock buttress. [Photo] Kyle Dempster
After minor travel delays on their way to Pakistan and bouts with various stomach ailments, Kyle Dempster, Hayden Kennedy and Urban Novak settled into Charakusa basecamp in early July. They acclimatized on Sulu Peak (5950m) and spent a few days bouldering around basecamp during a period of stormy weather July 10-15.
With a decent forecast in hand, on July 16 they headed up the hidden glacier below the East Face of K7 and bivouaced that evening at the bottom of the route. On July 17 they climbed snow, mixed ground and waterfall ice to an open bivouac, sans sleeping bags, above their 2011 high point. On July 18 they continued in deteriorating weather to the summit, encountering difficult route finding and harder climbing (including multiple pitches of M6) than expected in this upper section. Deep snow near the summit led to the deployment of the secret weapon–Urban Novak (Slovenia) was “the reason we got to the top,” according to Kennedy. A night of rappelling and another open bivouac saw the trio at the bottom of the route and back to basecamp on July 20.
Dempster and Kennedy were supported by the 2012 Polartec Challenge Grant, the AAC’s Lyman-Spitzer Cutting Edge Climbing Award and the Mugs Stump Award, which is partially funded by Alpinist.