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Many peaks in Khane Valley remain unclimbed

September 02, 2012

ISLAMABAD, Sept 2: There was almost no information about alpine ascents in the Khane Valley, home to unclimbed 5,000 metres high peaks and alpine spires near Hushe, the last and remotest village in Ghanche district of northern Pakistan.

But that was until Bulgarian climbers explored and climbed new routes in the Khane Valley. On August 13 and 14, Nikolay Petkov, Doychin Boyanov and Mihail Mihaylov realised the unclimbed Vasil Levski peak (5,733m).

One week later on August 19 and 20, Petkov and Boyanov ascended the big wall route on the east face of the unclimbed Grey Tower (5,434m). The team confirmed altitudes with their global positioning systems (GPS).

Alpine Club of Pakistan (ACP) confirmed the ascents on Sunday. “There are more than 120 7,000 metre high peaks and numerous uncounted 6,000 and 5,000 metre peaks. There have been a few unnamed summits. Trekkers often name the peaks they conquer after themselves or whatever comes to their minds,” said member Alpine Club of Pakistan Karrar Haidri, explaining how one expedition named a peak after their cook.

The first time foreigners set foot in Khane Valley was back in 2001 when the Koreans arrived to take on giant walls and virgin towers. And an American climber followed later.

According to the ACP, the only named summits were those that bordered the Nangma Valley and those visible from the village of Khane in the Hushe Valley.

However the Bulgarians, this year had placed their base camp at the so-called Boulder Base Camp, 4,050 metres, in the middle of the First Terrace.

It is a beautiful, green and flowery spot, near the river and around some big stones, according to their messages received from Skardu.

On the 5,733 metres high Levski Peak, at about 10am on August 14 the climbers reached the summit – an ideal rocky pyramid.

And the early morning rock falls did not stop the climbers from launching the final assault on the Grey Tower 5,435 metres high of which that last 300 metres of icy and snowy climb were a ‘difficult’ stretch.

“The summit itself is an ideal needle, rocky, with a two by three metre flat place on the top. Fantastic views in all directions,” said one of the climbers from the top.

The climbers debriefed from Skardu this past weekend where they, along with many other foreigners, were stuck waiting to be transported out.

The men made a recon trip to the Khane area last year.