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Pakistani climbers scale Koksil V

September 04, 2013
Young Pakistani mountaineers climbing Koksil V summit.
Young Pakistani mountaineers climbing Koksil V summit.

ISLAMABAD: A group of young Pakistani climbers have scaled Koksil V summit situated near the Pakistan-China border making it the first documented conquest of the peak.

The 5,830-meter high mountain is the highest in the Khunjrab National Park. Abu Zafar Sadiq, secretary, Alpine Club of Pakistan, confirmed that the climbers had reached the top of the mountain on August 25, 2013.

The Koksil V and the neighbouring mountains were named by climbers from The American Alpine Journal as Koksil I to V in 2010 when they reached Koksil I.

According to the Alpine Club, the Koksil V had been attempted in the past and unconfirmed reports say it was captured too.

But this time the seven-member team installed a base camp on August 20, at 4,200 meters from where they figured out a new route. The advanced base camp was set up at 4,750 meters.

On August 25, Ahmed Mujtaba Ali, leader of his seven-member team, Ahmed Naveed, Saad Mohammad, Kamal Haider, Jawad Tashfeen, Anas Mustafa and Waliur Rehman set off early at 3:30am from the Camp I at 5, 230 meters high.

For the four climbers including the two who had to abandon summit push, this was their first attempt on a mountain that was more technically challenging.

Explaining the technicalities, Ahmed Mujtaba said that climbers pushed higher relying on ice axe and the two front spikes of their crampons (ice shoes), which buried only 2cm into the ice walls.

The climbers had to use rope to prevent any accident on the steep walls.

“From there on it was a tough climb. We had to negotiate our ascent on a 450-meter’s hard ice wall at a 65 degrees to 85 degrees angle,” team leader Ahmed Mujtaba explained when they returned to Islamabad on August 29.

Due to height and chilly conditions, two of the climbers, Anas Mustafa and Waliur Rehman, fell ill and were forced to return.

According to the team leader, the two climbers were a bit fast and probably needed more acclimatisation hence lost the force.

However, the other members reached summit after some 11 hours of climbing at 2:35 pm.

Ahmed Mujtaba explained how climbers had only 60 meters of rope, which was utilised over 13 stretches on the hard ice face of the new route.

“We stayed at the top for 25 minutes. The peak is no wider than three by three feet roughly. We took pictures and made a short video of the surrounding areas,” said Ahmed Mujtaba. He explained that this summit was also important because his group had established a new route on Koksil V.