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Nangma Valley

Logmun Tower (aka Green Tower, 4600m), Karakoram, Pakistan, showing Inshallah Mi Primo (5.10b A3, 850m), climbed by Jonatan Larranaga, Gorka Diaz and Dani Ascaso in June. [Photo] Jonatan Larranaga

Nangma Valley, Various Activity. Lost in the immense Karakoram, the walls of Nangma Valley seem to contain endless new route potential. At the end of May, our Basque-Aragonese team–Gorka Diaz, Dani Ascaso and I–spent eleven days trekking to base camp. Our initial idea was to try one of those aretes you see in a photo and say: that is the line. When we arrived, the reality turned out to be far more exposed, with continuous rockfall.

So we shifted to Logmun Tower (4600m). Three years ago a French team had made the first ascent of the wall, via Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (5.11a A3, 600m). As we looked for our new line, the northwest pillar appeared vertical, direct and elegant, with cracks suggesting the potential for free climbing. We’d calculated water and food for five days; in the end, after the first four days of fixing ropes, we spent nine days climbing capsule style on the wall.

Many of the cracks were dirty–where was the clean rock of the Karakoram? We didn’t see the sun for more than a few hours after dawn. Searching for connecting systems of cracks, dihedrals and roofs, we made two pendulums to arrive at the northeast face, where the sunlight lifted our morale. From our portaledges each night, we gazed out at the beautiful valley we had all to ourselves–a foretaste of the joy we experienced when we completed our route and named it Inshallah Mi Primo (5.10b A3, 850m) in honor of the cook who accompanied our six-week expedition.

–Jonatan Larranaga, Basque Country