Sisters Pat Deavoll and Christine Byrch of New Zealand have established a new route on northern Afghanistan’s Koh-e-Baba-Tangi (6515m), making the second ascent of the mountain since the original 1963 Italian ascent. Inaccessible to climbers for decades, the Wakhan Corridor region has seen increasing climber traffic since Carlo Alberto Pinelli’s expedition to Noshaq (7492m) in 2003 — including an attempted second ascent of Koh-e-Baba-Tangi by another Italian team in 2008.
The initial ice face as viewed from 4800m. [Photo] Patricia Deavoll
Deavoll and Byrch made their ascent via the unclimbed northwest Ridge over five days starting on August 4. After a 500-meter ice face, a narrow gully brought the climbers to a rock buttress; skirting the buttress to the north yielded a fragile traverse above a bergschrund to better steep ice. The pair then followed a ridge to the summit plateau and made a final 600-meter push to the summit. Their two-day descent followed the route of the original Italian ascent along the west Ridge, bringing the climbers back to base camp on August 11. After a travel delay in exiting China, Deavoll wrote in her blog account of the experience: “Hopefully there’s nothing in our passports that will stop us returning to what must be one of the wildest and most unexplored mountain areas on earth.”