The northwest face of the unclimbed peak Raghshur (6089m), Hindu Kush, Pakistan. The red line marks the Greek attempt, climbed to 5700m in August. The blue line indicates “the only viable route to the summit according our experience,” Nikolas Kroupis said. [Photo] Theodoros Christopoulos
Three Greek alpinists have claimed high ground on Raghshur (aka Lagh Shar 6089m), an unclimbed summit east of the Istor-o-Nal group in Pakistan’s Hindu Kush. Though a huge cornice turned the team back at 5700m, the Greeks believe they have discovered a viable line that future parties might take to the summit.
The first known attempt on the mountain was in August 1974 by a 10-member Italian expedition. Edoardo Genero led the Italians up the west ridge to the bottom of an obvious but friable rock tower at 5600m. Ice to the north was discovered, but two team members decided to attempt aiding the loose limestone; they soon turned back.
This August, Dr. Nikolas Kroupis, Theodoros Christopoulos and Ioannis Kovanidis took the Italian line, hoping to discover a route to the summit. On August 6, the team started their ascent from advanced base camp at 4775m. Ice and soft snow up to 60 degrees led them to a col at 5530m, where they found a dry place to camp that night. The next day they descended to rest and on August 9 returned to high camp. Mixed terrain above brought them to the rock tower. They deemed the face unprotectable, so they scouted the surroundings.
“First, we tried to traverse from the south face but there were no viable routes leading on the ridge,” Kroupis said. “Afterwards, we traversed from the north side, on the bottom of the tower for 60 meters… where we identified a possible route to continue.” They descended to camp and returned the next day for an attempt. Unstable snow and an impassable cornice turned them back.
The team confirmed that the most feasible route would involve traversing another 150 meters or so to the north, where an exposed, 70-degree slope “leads over the huge serac.” On August 12, having assessed the dangerous conditions and short on time, the Greeks rappeled the north face using Abalakov V-threads.