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Author: Igor Chaplinsky
Shingu Charpa North Ridge, Karakoram. New route in a five-day round trip.
Have you ever seen a beautiful route? Such as to bewitch at once and make a motion to climb it? For example, West ridge of Makalu? My experience suggests that not every mountain fascinates and makes one want to open a new route. It's like we care about a woman...
It's just a boyish behavior to fall in love at first sight in Ak-Su or Ushba that ascent does the honor of the axes of mountaineering. But when I, a 47-year man, saw the photo of Shingu Charpa via the Internet, I felt the familiar sense of adrenaline and got my breath caught for this extraordinary beauty.
All the preliminary information about Shingu Charpa was that photo I had got via the Internet and a version given by Mikhail Sytnik, the known, but unliked by official mountaineering circles in Odessa.
All the rest there was my and my friend's adventurism. Having flied to Pakistan in the early July and paid to a travel agency $ 1000 we headed to our main goal. It took us a week to get BC.
First on jeeps we got to Kande village along Skardu, and then trekked the Nangma gorge direct to the foot of Shingu Charpa where appeared in a pleasant base camp located at 3900 meters near a birch&willow grove and a spring water.
We made the ascent area and route reconnaissance and for ten days went round Shingu Charpa on all sides but did not find any logical, interesting and foremost safe descent route. Having looked very closely at absolutely vertical and smooth faces of Amin Brakk, the dream of b.a.s.e.-jumpers, we asked ourselves a tough question: pardon, but where is possible to free climb there?
Continuous "smithy", speedy bolt working. I'm not a vocal advocate of such ascents. Though more then 20 years ago, in 1984, we in a team led by the legendary Samoded opened a bolted line on Shaan-Kaya (Crimea) via the center of the wall. Twenty years later it was logically continued up to the summit by climbers from Odessa. Now it is one of the hardest routes in the Crimea and it can be free climbed in places.
The side-face of Shingu Charpa North ridge and its East face were well seen from our base camp. The ridge presents a system of bastions (not less than four) and its top summit part is absolutely badly read from below.
East face is just magnificent, the real godsend to climbers with huge corners, chimneys, fissures. I could see at least 3-4 beautiful, absolutely independent routes apparently suitable for free climbing.
Finally our trio started to climb:
Ascent: in Alpine style
Brief route description.
4850 - 5050mm - a beautiful vertical bastion looked very terribly from below, but in fact with good surface, I recommend to climb the right chimney. 7a, 7b.
5350-5600mm - the most unexpected and unsafe site with a lot of ice and mixed terrain, snow-ice mushrooms is climbed more to the right, some dangerous snow drifts.
- Altitude different 1550 meters, thus it is real «big wall».
- All the route can be free climbed!!!
- A lot of difficult climbing, mixed climbing in the upper part.
I would like to wish every success all the mountaineers, life, really fine, wonderful and many-sided, is going on in fact.
What will I climb the next year? - I cannot say that now. May be something in South America, I would like to get to Amazonia. Or will visit Karakoram again... It seems to me a route on Shingu Charpa East face would appear one of the most difficult and extend with long sites for free climbing.
Affectionately yours, Igor Chaplinsky
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