Female solo first ascent in Pakistan

Posted by Lindsay Griffin on 29/07/2009
The first ascent of Karim Sar. Ivo Ferrari

The New Zealand female mountaineer Pat Deavoll has made the first ascent of the fine rock and ice pyramid Karim Sar (6,180m), climbing solo on the last 1,000m.

With Paul Hersey (also NZ) she established base camp at c3,800m in the Shilinbar Valley, which lies a relatively short distance north east of Chalt on the Karakoram Highway. The pair then acclimatized and placed a camp below the South East Face at c4,200m. Unfortunately, by this time Hersey had become somewhat unwell, and back at base camp announced he couldn't attempt the mountain.

Deavoll elected to make a solo attempt, and Hersey decided to accompany her to the bottom of the peak.....then a few hundred metres up the c2,000m face to belay her through a difficult rock band.

He ended up continuing to 5,100m, more or less half way up the face where the two stopped for the night, Hersey with no overnight equipment. He would stay there in support while Deavoll continued next day.

It took her 12 hours to complete the remaining 1,000m to the summit over complex ground with difficult snow-covered granite and steep ice runnels. In descent she was forced to make around half-a-dozen rappels from Abalakovs or rock anchors.

Deavoll's original goal, for which she was initially awarded a grant from the Mount Everest Foundation, was the first ascent of the South Face of Kampire Dior, a superb 7,142m peak at the head of the Batura Glacier, Western Karakoram,

However, when several team members dropped out, this became logistically and financially difficult: instead, the objective was changed to the far more approachable Karim Sar, which lies south of the Batura close to the Hunza Valley.

The only known previous attempt on this peak took place in 2007 by Italians Ivo Ferrari, Yuri Parimbelli and Fabio Valseschini. These Italians approached up the disintegrating Shilinbar Glacier, finding it hard going over broken moraine. They spent two weeks at base camp, where they hardly saw the mountain through successive periods of stormy weather.

Ferrari would have seen this summit during his 2006 trip with Renzo Corona to the neighbouring West Baltar Glacier, where the pair made the first ascent of 6,350m Dariyo Sar and Ferrari soloed the adjacent unnamed Pt 6,250m.

For Pat Deavoll, who has been mountaineering since 1976, led WI 7 and redpointed 8a (in 1994 she was the New Zealand Women's Sport Climbing Champion), this was her third Pakistan trip in successive years.

In 2007 she teamed up with fellow New Zealander Lydia Bradey for an attempt on the unclimbed Beka Brakkai Chhok above the West Baltar. They reached 6,000m before retreating but were later able to make the first ascent of Wahine (c5,820m), south west of Dariyo Sar, with Giampaolo and Lorenzo Corona.

Deavoll returned to Beka Brakkai in 2008, this time with Malcolm Bass from the UK (Both 2007 and 2008 trips were supported by the MEF, and on the latter Bass was supported by the BMC). This time she reached c6,500m. The 6,882m South Summit of Beka Brakkai was climbed later in the season by Hervé Barmasse and Simone Moro.
 



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