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New Route/First Ascent in Afghanistan

The following is an email we received from Pat Deavoll last week. -Keese Lane, Online Editor

I am just back from my second trip in two years to the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan and I think Maryrose Fowlie (NZ) and I may have done a first ascent of a mountain called Koh-e-Rant in the Upper Qala Panja Glacier.

Here is Maryrose (left) and I at camp with Koph-e-Rant in the background.

Our original objective was Rohazon Zom but at the last minute my climbing partner Paul Knott pulled out of the trip, leaving us a little short on climbing prowess. But Maryrose rose to the challenge and we climbed Koh-e-Rant on the 2nd of August. This was after an eight day assault on the Qala Panja icefall to get us into the upper neve. This was hard work, and it would be interesting to know the condition of the glacier thirty years ago. The other member of the team was Bill Byrch, my brother.

Koh-e-Rant is somewhere between 5850m and 6050m depending on maps and my altimeter. We cant find any record of it having been climbed before…but you never know. The last party to visit the Upper Qala Panja Glacier was a French team in 1968. We found the remains of their camp…including wrappers from rounds of Camembert cheese. This team may have climbed Koh-e-Rant as they climbed Koh-e-Sedara, close by.

We had a fantastic trip, and the Wakhan remains as peaceful as ever.

P.S. As an interesting aside, when we arrived back at Ishkashim to cross the border to Tajikistan we found it closed! A nasty incident between the Tajik Govt forces and Pamiri locals in Khorog during which dozens of people were killed, had forced the Tajiks to close their side of the border….hence we were stuck. After three days we were about to be airlifted to Kabul with some Germans, Polish and Australians, courtesy of the joint embassies, but at the last minute we all managed to wheedle and connive our way across the border and made a mad dash for Dushanbe to make our flights.